Ross Wheeler is a world champion kickboxer and a Sport BTEC Level 3 student at Activate Learning’s Reading campus. He successfully combines his studies with volunteering, training and competing, and is considering a career in strength and conditioning.
Ross started at Reading College in September 2018 and said he came here because “the sports courses were better than anywhere else. The teaching is more relaxed, and we’re allowed to do more for ourselves, which makes us more mature.”
A highlight in his study programme was when he visited Cardiff University with classmates to gain first-hand experience of underwater weight training and sprinting and speed tests.
Away from college, Ross kickboxes for a local club, where he is also a volunteer trainer. In return for his expertise, the club supports him with benefits like free uniforms.
Ross started kickboxing young, at around seven years of age. He explains: “To be fair, I wasn’t the most active child, so my dad wanted to get me into something to get my fitness up. It all went from there.”
His first world tournament was in Orlando, USA, in 2015, where he fought in five categories against competitors from Mexico, England, Germany and Italy. He surprised himself by “getting into the finals straight away.”
Ross says that at one point he was “still warming up when they called me over (to compete). I had to rush over and I wasn’t prepared, but I ended up winning it. My coach said “You didn’t expect that did you? You’re world champion and you’ve just come here!”’
Ross went on to win the world title in the under 55kg category in 2017 and also currently holds two British championship titles in kickboxing. After taking a break last year to sit exams, he hopes to return to international competition in 2019.
“You have to be driven and motivated to do all the coursework,” recommended Ross about anyone considering following him in studying for a Sports diploma.
We’re sure that Ross will show that same determination in his kickboxing and wish him all the best for the future.