Planning a trip abroad can be exciting at the best of times, even more so when it is to compete in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Two of West College Scotland’s students know all about this excitement, as they have been selected as part of Great Britain’s sailing team for the games.

Cousins Jamie Kearns and Shannon McGhee, both from Clydebank, will heading out to Abu Dhabi in March ahead of the opening ceremony on 14th. Jamie, who studies Commercial Ventures, and Shannon, who studies Community Links, have been sailing for nearly 9 years after the Deputy Head teacher at their school persuaded them to try it.

After taking an instant liking to the sport, sailing became a huge part of Jamie and Shannon’s lives. But it wasn’t until 2017 when their talents were recognised and they became a part of the Special Olympics team.

Competing alongside 7,000 athletes and in front of up to 500,000 spectators in Abu Dhabi doesn’t seem to faze Jamie and Shannon, who both had a taste of competitive sailing at the 2017 National Games in Sheffield. With Jamie placing second and Shannon placing third, the duo are aiming to build on their success in Abu Dhabi.

It feels really exciting to be a part of the team.

Jamie and Shannon are both looking forward to the competition, with Jamie describing the biggest challenge as being the fact they will be competing against one another. Shannon admits that even being a part of the team is an exciting prospect, but both are hoping to bring home medals. Describing the support they have received as “crazy”, the duo are more than ready to take on the challenge and represent their country in a sport they love.

Preparations have been ongoing for months and Jamie and Shannon have both been practising hard at every opportunity, building their fitness and strength and mentally preparing for the competition. The team at West College Scotland wish them both the best of luck, and can’t wait to follow their journey before, during and after the World Games.