A severely disabled youngster from Wandsworth has won a prestigious national award for his sporting prowess.

Mahfuz Ahmad is deaf and has severe athetoid cerebral palsy, to such an extent that communication through sign language is extremely challenging.

The 15-year-old was named outright winner at the Panathlon 2012 Achievement Awards, held in the Olympic Suite at John Lewis Stratford City and supported by the Jack Petchey Foundation. Panathlon is the charity which provides multi-sport competition for over 3000 disabled children each year.

In all, 14 young disabled schoolchildren were recognised for a range of achievements in 2012.

Holly Black, from the Oak Lodge School of the Deaf, explained: “Mahfuz began attending Oak Lodge School 18 months ago and, at first, was adamant he did not like PE or sport.

“His opinion was changed when he was given the opportunity to use adapted equipment and taught inclusive adapted sports such as Polybat and Boccia. Within weeks his balance and co-ordination was making great progress alongside his motivation and enthusiasm; he went from strength to strength over the year.

“We decided to enter him into the Panathlon Challenge Central London competition in 2011. He was outstanding and wanted to take part in every event. He participated in the Wandsworth Boccia team and won a gold medal.

“When the team leader asked for pupils to run in the relay he volunteered himself. We were all shocked at how fast and determined he was in this race and once again won gold!

“The next day, back at school Mahfuz was given his medal at assembly in front of the whole school. He jumped up and down with happiness.”

Holly added: “All the teachers at Oak Lodge and I are so proud of Mahfuz, having overcome such severe physical disability. His self-confidence, motivation and determination continue to be an inspiration to all of us.”

Panathlon is supported by funding partners such as John Lewis Stratford City, which has donated £33,000 to the charity after charging customers £2 each during the Games to view the Olympic Stadium from a viewing gallery on its third floor.

It also benefits from The Jack Petchey Foundation, which was established in 1999 and has awarded grants totalling more than £70million to programmes and projects which benefit young people aged 11 to 25.

Mahfuz is pictured receiving his award from Jack Petchey CBE and Liz Johnson, the Paralympic medal winner from London 2012.

Liz said: “Panathlon is a great way for disabled young people to get in to sport for the first time. We may not all reach the Paralympics, but Panathlon is an ideal vehicle to enjoy your first sporting experience and then to nuture the talent further.

“I’ve witnessed the joy that Panathlon brings to disabled young people many times and it is inspiring.”

Additional quotes Jack Petchey, CBE: “It is fantastic to see the achievements of so many disabled young people. They truly embody my motto of ‘when you believe you can, you can !’”

Noel Saunders, Managing Director of John Lewis Stratford City: “We are delighted to celebrate one year of John Lewis Stratford City. We are thrilled that the money raised from our viewing gallery will go towards creating even more opportunities for thousands of people and continue the legacy we helped to start.”

Ashley Iceton, Panathlon Challenge founder: “John Lewis’ incredible donation will enable hundreds of disabled children to access sport, sometimes for the first time and then, who knows, emulate their Paralympic heroes and win medals of their own. It is also incredibly kind of John Lewis to host our Jack Petchey Achievement Awards, where we are recognising young disabled athletes who are living proof of legacy and are already an ‘inspired generation’.”

Based on information supplied by Simon Lansley.