Four students living in Ellesmere Port put in an awe-inspiring performance at this year’s Special Olympics.
James Clarke, 18, Stuart Jones, 30, Daniel Kiersy, 19 and former student Jonathan Butler, 25, all from West Cheshire College, competed in a range of table tennis categories.
They were among some 2,600 athletes taking part in the event held in Sheffield.
Their medal-winning success followed an extensive summer training period at the college in conjunction with Premier 4 Sports Satellite Club with sessions run by table tennis coach Aaron Beech.
Aaron said: “The Satellite Clubs help the athletes to reach their full potential, encouraging the students to enhance their skills and become more confident in their ability.
“The athletes performed exceptionally and have come on leaps and bounds both as people and players.”
He added: “We are all immensely proud of their achievements.”
Stuart Jones, who achieved silver success in men’s singles and doubles, is studying English at the college.
He is not only an avid table tennis player but also enjoys football, reading and swimming.
The success didn’t end there with James Clarke taking gold in men’s singles and again in doubles with his table tennis partner Daniel.
James, who is studying occupational studies, became known as Mr Consistent at the competition due to his remarkable journey and massive improvement. “Coming to the club is the best part of my week,” he says.
Aaron explained: “James suffers from physical health issues which limit the exercise and strain his body can endure. We therefore had to build him up in short bursts.”
However, his confidence grew week by week and ‘it’s brilliant to see how far James has come’.”
Daniel Kiersy claimed a men’s doubles title alongside James and also a bronze medal while Jonathan Butler took a men’s single gold, came runner-up in a mixed doubles and took fourth place in another men’s doubles category.
Both Daniel and Jonathan share a passion for football as enthusiastic Everton FC supporters and are said to have progressed significantly since starting their table tennis journey.
Aaron added: “It’s been a privilege to work with all these athletes and see how they tackle each challenge as individuals. It’s also been great to see them motivating each other.
“I believe as coaches we have done a great job in setting a professional and creative environment that allowed the students to express themselves and take control of their own leaning experiences.
“This is a success story for everyone involved, starting with their coach and mentor Peter Miller who has been with them from the start of their journey and his mum Sue Miller who has travelled everywhere with them throughout the year as well as a massive success for West Cheshire College and Premier 4 Sport.
“I would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers at our Ellesmere Port and Chester Table Tennis Centre (Premier Hub club) who have helped the athletes become better people.
“We are very proud of all the guys and are sure they will go on to become more successful.”
The Special Olympics GB is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities.