Gold medal glory has come the way of Walsall College’s supported learning students after winning the AoC Sport PAN Disability Football National Championships for the first time ever.
The team of ten won all eight of their matches against other regional teams, scoring 42 goals in total and conceding just two. The tournament took place in Nottingham over 14-16 April.
Lecturer and sports coordinator/coach, Andy Higgins said: “Since winning the regional title in December, our students have been relentless in their desire to come home with the national trophy. It’s fantastic that their ambition has been realised.”
He continued: “Their work ethic and team spirit shone through and we know this sporting success has made a huge difference to their study skills and confidence moving forward.
“Their classmates, families and friends as well as college staff are all hugely proud of them.”
Team captain, Mo Ali said: “Becoming national champions shows how hard we worked in our training sessions and how much we have improved as individual players and as a team since last year.
“This is an enjoyable tournament and a good way for me to finish my time on this course.”
James Baker scored 18 goals during the championships. He added: “We went into the finals determined to win and felt confident. We know our strengths and get on well, which is part of what makes us so successful.”
Now entering its 43rd year, the AoC Sport National Championships are a celebration of competitive sport in colleges, providing recognition, enjoyment and a unique opportunity for students to compete. They also remain the largest annual student sporting event in Europe, with nearly 2,000 college students taking part last year.
College teams and individual competitors qualify to represent their region at the Championships through regional tournaments hosted throughout the academic year by AoC Sport. In 2023, events took place across 12 different sports – including badminton, 7-a-side football, volleyball and indoor cricket.