First year South Tyneside College sports student Jake Phelan has a flipside that sets him apart.
Jake is a top acrobatic gymnast – and is getting set to compete for Team GB in his discipline’s most prestigious international event of the year.
In July, Jake, 16, of Bridlington Parade, Hebburn, will swap the classroom for the sports arena at the World Games 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland.
He will pair up with partner Michael Hill, with whom he has trained six-days-a-week for the past year – and aim for a podium finish.
To do so, they must excel in three routines – balance, dynamic, which includes throws, somersaults and twists, and a combination round.
Jake is studying a level 3 BTEC sports course at the South Shields college.
He said: “It is realistic to think that we can come in the top three. It’s definitely what we’re aiming for.
“Acrobatic gymnastics does not feature at the Olympics, so this really is our sport’s biggest event.
“It’s fantastic to be part of Team GB, I’m really looking forward to the competition.”
Jake took up the sport aged nine, and has always trained at the South Tyneside Gymnastics Club, based at Temple Park Centre, South Shields, and been coached by Ian and Deborah Said.
Following the World Games, which start on July 20, they will aim to qualify for October’s European Championships.
In the long term, Jake’s ambition is to work with world-famous theatrical entertainment troupe, Cirque du Soleil.
Jake added: “My professional ambition is to progress to Cirque du Soleil, I can’t think of anything better.
“While that is my aim, I realise that I need good qualifications as a back-up plan, and I’m enjoying my course at college.
Rob Grainey, head of commercial services at South Tyneside College, said: “Jake is dedicated to his sport, and I’m sure he will perform very well at the World Games.
“He also shows the same dedication to his college course, which is a great attitude to have and he’s an exemplary student.