World Championships

College students selected to represent Great Britain

Two Cheshire College – South & West students have recently been selected to represent Great Britain in the European Team Gymnastics Championships in Portugal this October.

Sharni Jones, 17, former student at The Oaks Academy, joined Cheshire College – South and West in 2017, studying A Level Law, Psychology and Biology. Sharni is preparing to compete in the Junior Mixed Category, with nine other countries.

Sharni said: ‘’I was extremely happy about being selected to be part of the team representing Great Britain. The entire process has been exciting. The best bit has been meeting and going out with the team.

‘’We have been training loads and travelling down to London to take part in training camps. I have been going over my routines every day to ensure I am ready.

‘’The staff and students at College have been really supportive, everyone is really nice and friendly. I am enjoying my time here and I hope to go on to study Paramedic Science at University next year.’’

Kyle Everall, 17, also former student at The Oaks Academy, originally started College studying Level 3 Public Services, but quickly realised he would prefer Level 3 Sports. Kyle will be competing in the Junior Men’s Category, with five other nations next week in Portugal.

Kyle commented: ‘’The entire experience so far has been incredibly exciting. It is completely different to anything I have ever done before and I have been given the opportunity to meet so many new people.

‘’I was ecstatic when I first found out I had been selected. It has been hard work preparing for the finals, but I have just been focusing on mastering the routines. I can’t wait to compete in front of everyone there.

‘’I have loved studying at College. It is such a nice environment to be in and the Sports Lecturers have been really supportive. ’’

Sharni and Kyle both started training in artistic gymnastics, at Camm St Gym in Crewe at aged 3. After several years they progressed into Team Gym, which originated in Denmark, and is all about floor routines, tumbles and trampets. The young athletes are no strangers to challenges, since a young age they have been competing in a variety of open competitions and started competing yearly in the British Championships at the Echo Arena.

There are 68 gymnasts competing for Great Britain in Portugal this October, with around 34 in the Junior section.

Sharni and Kyle flew out to Lisbon on Monday, ready for the qualifiers today, with the finals scheduled to take place on Friday 19th October. The Championships will be streamed live on BBC Sport’s Red Button and YouTube.

Helen Nellist, Deputy Principal and Chief Executive Officer said: ‘’We are extremely proud of what Sharni and Kyle have achieved. It’s encouraging to see young learners developing as sportsmen and women as well as achieving relevant qualifications that will help them in the future.

‘’We wish them the best of luck in the rest of their Championship journey and look forward to hearing about their time in Portugal when they return.’’

Follow us on social media to keep updated with their Championship Journey.

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, call 01270 654654 / 01244 656555 or visit

World Class Teaching at West Cheshire College

Sports Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Tutor at West Cheshire College, Simon O’Brien, returned to his students this month following a summer supporting athletes at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Simon is no stranger to the competitive circuit having also worked with professional and world-class athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games and for West Cheshire Colleges’ students his experiences are hugely beneficial, learning about real-life situations and gaining world-class teaching.

As part of the Botswana Training Team, Simon began his World Championship journey in Cardiff, where he worked with athletes in preparation for the two-week competition.

Simon explained: “Just over six years ago I spent a day volunteering my services to every country in the world through the Independent Olympic Committee (IOC). I was then contacted prior to the 2012 Games asking whether I would like to work with the Botswana Team, and of course I said yes.

“Since then, the team has asked that I continue to work with them, which is how my involvement came about this year at the World Championships, and it looks promising for a Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (XXI) appearance in April next year too.

“This year has been possibly the most incredible summer I have experienced and what I couldn’t have prepared for was the media frenzy when the Botswanan 400-metre runner, Isaac Makwala, was barred.”

Isaac Makwala, 30, was set to run in the 400m final but was refused entry into the stadium and barred from competing in order to control a “very virulent” norovirus outbreak. The Athletics’ governing body defended its decision to deny the World Championship medal favourite entry, however there was much speculation surrounding the event.

Simon added: “I certainly didn’t expect to be on the BBC couch alongside Gabby Logan, Denise Lewis, Michael Johnson and Paula Radcliffe – what an experience.

“I essentially became the spokesperson for the Botswana Team, which included an interview with Gaby Logan on the BBC, swiftly followed by a meeting with the Team Manager, President of the Botswana Association and Lord Sebastian Coe to discuss the situation and to ensure a positive outcome for all. It was a crazy week and quite a surreal experience!

“At the end of the meeting, I asked whether we could appeal for Isaac to compete in the 200m, as there was a similar case in 2016, which could be used as a precedent. For Isaac it was certainly the most dramatic 48 hours in his career, however my idea was accepted, we did appeal and he was reinstated into the 200m.”

Isaac subsequently ran a solo time trial, qualifying for the semi-finals, and then, just two hours later, qualified for the final after running even quicker. His popularity since the Championships has risen enormously, along with the entire Botswana Team.

Simon went on to say: “For me, not only was this year’s Championships an unbelievable experience and learning curve, but I was in the presence of my sporting heroes. It was incredible to meet them, let alone be one of five in a high-pressured meeting with Lord Sebastian Coe. It was a true honour. They were all great sports and it was a real pleasure to meet them.”