Here’s all you need to know about the 2016 South West team.
Last year’s result: 1st place
Colleges representing the region in 2016: Truro and Penwith College, Cornwall College, Exeter College, Petroc, Richard Huish College, Yeovil College, Bridgwater College, Strode College, Weston College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
Star athlete: Weston College’s Kirby Ngan is hot favourite for the badminton title in Tyne and Wear. Currently ranked sixth nationally for singles and 11th for doubles at senior standard, she is also England's number one at Under-19 level for both.
Having already travelled to Peru last year for the World Junior Championships, an achievement Kirby rates as her best to date in the sport, the AoC Sport National Championships shouldn't faze her one bit.
"Kirby is an outstanding student and athlete," said Weston’s Head of Sport, Paul Taylor. "As an EAP athlete she combines her busy badminton schedule with her studies perfectly. She is training hard and we are all looking forward to the National Championships."
One to watch: South West team captain Jared London may not be a surprise package on the squad court, as he is the defending champion, but he will certainly be worth keeping an eye on in Tyne and Wear, with a strong field looking to halt a second gold medal bid.
The 18-year-old Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science student is currently ranked 11th at England U19 level and already has a host of titles to his name.
Jared, of Truro and Penwith College, is both Junior and Senior Cornwall County Champion (2014/15 and 2015/16 respectively), and is South West U19 Champion too. He also competes on the European circuit, including the British, German and Dutch Opens, and is ranked 55th in Europe at U19.
National Championships veterans: Richard Huish’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have represented the region pretty much exclusively for a number of years now.
They always put in a strong performance, with a showdown with Peter Symonds College of the South East often being the gold medal decider - and this always appears to be a pretty major grudge match each year.
What they say:
"We are looking forward to experiencing a new-look championship in Tyne and Wear. It is an exciting opportunity for our students to compete on a national stage against the best college teams in the country. Hopefully we can be instrumental in helping the South West region to retain the overall trophy."
(Julie Penprase – Truro and Penwith College, Academy Coordinator)