Australian Uniroos depart for 27th Summer Universiade
The Australian University Sport confirmed a team of 152 student athletes from 16 sports including football, that will represent Australia in Kazan, Russia from 6 – 17 July 2013 at the 27th Summer Universiade.
The Australian Uniroos, along with their coaches, officials and medical teams, will arrive and settle into the athlete’s village where they will reside for 13 days alongside the 12,000 competitors from over 150 countries all competing for 351 medals across 27 sports.
Australia’s largest sport delegation is swimming with 25 athletes. London Olympians Ryan Napoleon (CATC Design College) and Jayden Hadler (Sarina Russo Institute) will spear head the swim team which has had great success previously at the Universiade. Napoleon, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will be looking to add a Universiade medal to his collection as he competes in the 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle events, with Hadler contesting the 100m butterfly event.
Australia’s most successful team, the womens basketball, have their eyes firmly placed on the top prize. The team has medalled at the past four Universiade including gold at the 2007 event and have assembled an all-star line-up ready to take on the world’s best student athletes.
Individually, Catherine Skinner (RMIT) will be looking to go one better in trap shooting event following her silver medal at the 2011 Universiade. With a recent silver medal at the Al Ain World Cup, Skinner is in red hot form leading in to the games.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge,” said Skinner. “If Shenzhen was anything to go by, the competition is going to be world class.”
Athletics will also be sending a strong contingent of athletes to Kazan. All eyes are on Alwyn Jones (Victoria University) who recently took out the Australian Title in the triple jump. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist is joined by fellow triple jumper Ellen Pettitt (Victoria University) who claimed silver at this years Australian Championships. World Championships representative Caitlin Sargent (University of Queensland) also won gold at the Australian Championships and will contest the 100m and 400m events.
Second only to the Olympic Games in terms of the size and the standard of competition, the Summer Universiade is widely recognised as a vital stepping stone in the elite sporting pathway for Australia’s current and future sporting stars. The fact that the Australian Institute of Sport has recently increased its funding levels for the program is certainly evidence of the importance of this even on the international sport calendar.
Four time Olympian and 2008 Olympic gold medallist Duncan Free will accompany the rowing team as coach and team manager and he remarked on how exciting this opportunity is for athletes to represent Australia and experience a world class multi-sport event.
“The University Games are an Olympic-style festival, complete with an opening ceremony and a variety of other festivities in addition to ultra-competitive sport, which will be a great experience for the athletes and a good motivation for the future,” Free said.
Another indicator of the size and importance of the Universiade is the level of investment made by the Russian government to provide 64 sports venues, 30 of which are specially constructed for the 2013 Games, essentially transforming Kazan into a city that is now being dubbed as the ‘sports capital of Russia’.
The 2011 Australian team that competed at the 26th Summer Universiade (Shenzhen, China) was our most successful ever, with five gold, three silver, and eight bronze being the most number of medals won at a Summer Universiade by an Australian team. In 2013 we aim to improve on this result with a top ten finish in the medal tally.
“We are taking one of the largest teams we have ever taken away with us to this event and there are a number of real medal hopes within the fold,” Chef de Mission Martin Roberts said.
The full team guide can be found on the high performance section of the AUS website<http://www.unisport.com.au/HighPerformance/SummerUniversiade/Pages/Home.aspx> on the Summer Universiade home page of the high performance section.