Two students from West College Scotland’s Clydebank campus shone on the biggest stage last week after they competed at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Jamie Cairns, who studies commercial ventures, and his cousin Shannon McGhee, who studies community links, were part of the Team GB sailing squad with Jamie coming home with a fantastic bronze medal.

Jamie, 20, and his unified partner Darren MacGregor were awarded the bronze in the Division 2 fleet, while Shannon, 21, and her partner Laura Carrick narrowly missed out, finishing fourth in Division 3.

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With 15 countries taking part and around 50 sailors competing on the water across four differing divisions in the Persian Gulf, it was certainly an eye-opener for the pair who usually train on the serene Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch.

Bronze medallist Jamie said: “A few days we couldn’t actually sail because it was far too windy.

“We capsized once only and that was hard to get back up, but the water was quite warm, well very warm.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I got bronze.”

Shannon, meanwhile, commented: “The highlight has been going out on the boat with many others.

“It is so different to where we sail with the colour of the water and it’s hot.”

And while Shannon was unfortunate not to come home with any silverware, her unified partner Laura from Helensburgh was quick to praise the youngster.

She said: “Shannon has been a gazelle on the boat which has really given her so much confidence.

“It’s been touch and go at times due to the winds, with the adrenaline building to go racing and then it’s postponed.

“The young people have been absolutely amazing to hold their own out here. A lot of the teams have been to several international competitions so we have learnt lots.”

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David Hill, competition and coaching advisor for the team, added: “It goes without saying I’m immensely proud of the team while we have been out here but also the journey to get here.

“They have shown great commitment to this for almost two years now and it showed during the competition with the guys holding their own against sailors with more experience of big events.

“We have had endless laughs along the way, mainly at each other.

“Overall it was a great experience, very long days in the heat but well worth it.

“So now looking ahead, the challenge is to get more people into this kind of sailing and develop crews for the other levels in Special Olympic Sailing.

“It’s only two years till the next national games in Liverpool and four until the next World Games in Berlin 2023.”