South East claim Wilkinson Sword title at AoC Sport National Championships

The South East became the new winners of the Wilkinson Sword trophy this weekend, as they wrestled the title off local rivals the South West at the AoC Sport National Championships in Nottingham.


The region - who were 2016 runners-up - finished 22 points clear of last year's winners in second, while the West Midlands once again finished in third place, just a point behind the South West.


Host region the East Midlands were only four points back in fourth, highlighting what an incredibly competitive Championships took place over the last three days.


More than 1600 college students from across England and Wales travelled to Nottingham to compete in the three-day event, now in its 39th year, at a series of incredible sporting facilities including the University of Nottingham's David Ross Sports Village, Trent Bridge, Nottingham Wildcats Arena, Morley Hayes Golf Club, Nottingham Tennis Centre and Nottingham Tennis Centre.


And in some impressive facilities, amazing displays of sporting excellence and sportsmanship took place.


South East male team captain Mahamed Mahamed of Itchen Sixth Form College led the way, claiming gold in the men's cross country for the third successive year, and helping his region to team gold as well.


There were also gold medals for a number of other South East individuals and teams, including the men's golf team, as well as a host of silver and bronze medals across the weekend.


"We didn't expect it, it's always the South West," South East athlete Conor Baverstock told AoC Sport National Championships' official media partner FE Week. "We came here pretty confident but the standard is so much better than last year. It was friendly but competitive."


AoC Sport chair, Mark White OBE, told FE Week: "We've had a marvellous weekend at the University of Nottingham at the AoC Sport National Championships.


"I've spent three days watching real enthusiasm and excellence in the students from colleges, who have competed with such passion and such talent. I've enjoyed every minute of it.


"AoC Sport is absolutely committed to supporting sport and physical activity across all of our college sector, and I'm already looking forward to next year's National Championships next spring."


The athletes competed across 13 different sports, including football, squash, hockey, basketball and cricket.


AoC Sport Managing Director Marcus Kingwell said: “What a fantastic weekend we've had at this year's National Championships.


"Thanks to the hard work of the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Conferences, Visit Nottinghamshire, volunteers, AoC Sport staff and, of course, the competitors, coaches and college staff, the past three days have been a resounding success.


"Congratulations to all who took part, we're already looking forward to seeing you all again next year."