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Gold Coast Champion returns to college

This week South Eastern Regional College’s Bangor Campus was pleased to welcome back Rhys McClenaghan, better known in the sport world as a Commonwealth Games gold medallist. After beating his icon and Olympic Champion Max Whitlock in the men’s pommel horse, the 18-year-old returned home last week to a hero’s welcome.

Having taken time out after the Games, Rhys is getting back to routine and has returned to SERC to complete his extended diploma in sport qualification.

SERCs Lynda Robinson, colleagues and classmates, were just some of the people awaiting the champions arrival. The champion beamed with pride as he showed off his hard-earned medals to his classmates.

SERC Deputy Head of School for Applied Science and Sport Lynda Robinson said “We are glad to welcome Rhys back to college. SERC fresher’s can look up to how he has dealt with the fame and he is a fantastic role model for the College. I think he will be a real inspiration for the other students and for them to see what can be achieved through hard work; confidence and determination is great.”

SERC has a proud tradition of supporting student-athletes in their sporting and academic pursuits, including SERC former student Kevin Seaward who finished an impressive fourth place at the Games in the Men’s Marathon. In 2016 Bethany Firth won four medals — three gold and one silver — at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In 2012 student Chloe Brown got the once in a lifetime opportunity to accompany David Beckham and four other young sports people to attend the Olympic Flame Handover in Athens.

SERC affirmed their commitment to supporting their student-athletes a few years ago when rugby legend Stephen Ferris launched their Elite Athlete Programme, designed to provide aspiring elite athletes with the support they need to achieve both academic and sporting excellence.

Applications are now open for courses starting in September. 

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