WHILE many have taken to running tracks, swimming pools or volleyball courts in a bid to reach Rio as Olympians, Dan Levings took to his computer.
Two years after beginning his intensive training, the Highbury College student recently returned from a world web-programming competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a medallist.
Out of 40 competitors, selected from countries across the globe, 19-year-old Dan finished sixth.
Run by World Skills, the tournament pitted some of the most astute young minds against each other in subjects ranging from cookery to mechanics.
As Britain’s champion in the national finals, Dan found the cultural experience of Brazil intriguing, and he also enjoyed the challenges of the competition.
Dan, of Chapel Street, Fareham, said: ‘It was a completely new experience for me and Brazil was just like you would expect.
‘The competition gave me everything, not just enjoyment.
‘The level of training has really boosted me as a web designer.
‘It’s put me five years ahead in terms of knowledge of websites and the pressures they put you under only added to the fun.’
The competition took place over four days, with entrants tested on a range of skills including web design, puzzle and game creation, interaction and logic.
It was something that the foundation degree computer science student thrived on.
‘If you get the chance to test yourself in a similar situation, go for it,’ he said.
‘Competitions like this not only give you a benchmark of where your own skills are up to, it is also an incredible learning experience.
‘Now I am a recognised world-class web programmer and am getting approached by businesses and being asked to get involved with them.
‘It’s been a long journey, but a really good experience.’
Anna Selway, a lecturer at Highbury College, said: ‘All of us at Highbury College are incredibly proud of Dan.
‘He has proven he is one of the top young web designers in the world.
‘He is now finishing his foundation degree and is mentoring other students hoping to compete in World Skills.
‘We predict an amazing future for him.’