For me taking part is more important and it is good to have a winning intention but I should always make myself ready for a loss or failure. Everybody wants to win and take part but not everyone wins. Some people win and some people lose, but the important point is that everyone participate. If someone is participating even after knowing that he is going to lose but in the participation he intends to give his 100% then he is far better than some one who is sitting as a spectator. This life is also one kind of participation.
Life throws tough challenges from time to time. Whether we willfully accept the challenge or not, that is certain to come in our life and one is bound to participate and in such cases some people are not that comfortable to take on those challnges but as those challanges are part of our life, we always go along with that, that is what life teaches us indirectly. It is not the result which always matter rather the proces of taking part in a challnge right from start to end makes someone more stronger than ever despite of the outcome.
Some people generally perceive that if some one loses and do not win, then he is weaker but in my sense that person is more stronger. Losing in life makes some one more hard working and more docile in life and a moment in life will come when the same person wins he can taste the win to the fullest than anyone else. That is because he has already tasted the failure and loss.
I will say it depends or varies in different situations
If you are a athlete or a footballer and you just took part in the game without winning, it seems nothing to me as winning is very important in athlete.
There are some situations that even without winning, but taking part is acceptable to me. E.g when you were not able to take first in an academic quiz competition but you took second or third, it is still very much encouraging that when you didn't take part at all in the quiz.
So I will say it varies. In some situations, it is acceptable to take part and not win as it will not be regard as a part thing and also there are some situations that involves you winning and not just only taking part.
I think this depends on the nature of the event or competition. I grew up in a household where winning was very important and just participating was not the desirable outcome. I agree with this mentality for the most part and I don't look how western society has decided to give everyone a participation badge because feeling might get hurt otherwise. In real life, not everyone is a winner and telling kids its okay to participate is making our society as soft as butter.
There are however some instances where just participating is a good stepping stone. If you are trying out a new skill or hobby and want to learn about something, participating is the first step to honing your skill. Other than that though, I believe your focus should be on first prize