Thirty-three of the nation’s best emerging athletes, including six current Australian champions, will compete in Gwangju, Korea this July, with Athletics Australia selectors today confirming the track and field team bound for the 28th Summer Universiade.
Featuring three IAAF world championships bound athletes, Nicholas Hough (NSW, 110m hurdles), Michelle Jenneke (NSW, 100m hurdles) and Madeline Heiner (NSW, 5000m, 3000m steeplechase), the athletics section of the Australian team at the Summer Universiade also boasts a further ten medallists from the 93rd Australian Athletics Championships in Brisbane last month.
The strong University of Sydney athletics program will have nine representatives in the team, including Jenneke who is studying for a Bachelor of Mechatronics (a combination of mechanical and electrical engineering). The 21-year-old became the second fastest Australian hurdler of all time in finishing second behind Sally Pearson in Brisbane.
Fellow University of Sydney athletes include national champions Annaliese Rubie (400m), Hough and 18-year-old Angus Armstrong, who became the youngest ever winner of the Australian pole vault title in Brisbane. Other Australian champions include Heiner (5000m), decathlete David Brock (RMIT, VIC) and University of Southern Queensland hammer thrower Lara Nielsen.
Six athletes return for their second Universiade, led by Hough who reached the semi-finals of the 100m and 200m in 2013, a feat achieved by his mother Sue who reached the semis of both events at the 1987 Games in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.
Queensland sprinter Tom Gamble, Deakin University 400m runner Alex Carew, University of Sydney discus thrower Alix Kennedy and University of Newcastle heptathlete Sophie Stanwell also competed in Kazan, Russia in 2013. Rubie competed in the 2011 edition in Shenzhen, China.
“The overriding selection principle for the Summer Universiade is that of inclusion for all eligible athletes, and with this in mind Athletics Australia is delighted to confirm such a strong and big team for Gwangju 2015,” Dion Russell, the Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.
“We have selected a team that includes many realistic finalists, even medallists, at the event, as well as many athletes who are seen as future Australian representatives at events including the IAAF World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. We encourage all athletes chosen to relish the opportunity provided and to use the competition experience as a means of developing their ability to compete for our country on the world stage.”
Sydney Olympian and Uniroos Chef de Mission Liz Morgan-Brett said the athletics team will have the opportunity to add to the prestigious honour roll from previous Universiades.
“We fully endorse the selection philosophy of Athletics Australia in nominating all those athletes who have met the selection criteria, and we look forward to welcoming them as Uniroos this July.”
“The athletics section is always a strong contributor to the overall Uniroos success at the Games and this squad contains a group of young athletes who will be aiming to join the list of medal winners.” Morgan-Brett said.
The 28th Summer Universiade will be held in Gwangju on 3-14 July 2015. Australia will likely field a team of 200 athletes, competing against 170 nations in 21 sports.
One of the largest sporting events in the world, the Summer Universiade has launched the careers of an abundance of track and field stars including Shirley Strickland (100m, 800m hurdles), Ralph Doubell (800m), Alison Inverarity (high jump), Emma George (pole vault), Dani Samuels (discus) and Kylie Wheeler (heptathlon).
At the 2013 edition in Kazan, Ian Dewhurst (NSW) won the only medal for the athletics team in the men’s 400m hurdles. Two years earlier in Shenzhen the track and field squad won two medals. Lachlan Renshaw (NSW) delivered gold in the 800m, while Sean Wroe (Vic) was third in the men’s 400m.
The Summer Universiade is held every two years under the banner of the International University Sports Federation. Athletics (track and field) has been a fixture of the competition schedule since the Universiade began in Turin (ITA) in 1959. However, Australia had its first athletics competitor in the 1937 edition of the Games in Paris.
A full history of Australian athletics results at the World University Games can be found here.
Athletics Section - XXVIII Summer Universiade
Gwangju, South Korea (3-14 July 2015)
MEN (20 athletes):
100m: Tom Gamble (University of Queensland, Qld), Jin Su Jung (University of Sydney, NSW)
200m: Ben Jaworski (University of Western Sydney, NSW), Andrew McCabe (Queensland University of Technology, Qld)
400m: Alex Beck (Bond University, Qld)
800m: Timas Harik (Melbourne Polytechnic Institute of Tafe, Vic), Peter Bol (Curtin University, WA)
1500m: Adrian Plummer (University of Technology Sydney, NSW)
5000m: Stewart McSweyn (La Trobe University, Vic)
110m hurdles: Nicholas Hough (University of Sydney, NSW)
Pole vault: Angus Armstrong (University of Sydney, NSW)
Long jump: Angus Gould (Australian National University, ACT)
Discus throw: Matthew Denny (Griffith University, Qld)
Decathlon: David Brock (RMIT, Vic), Kyle Cranston (Australian Catholic University, NSW)
4x100m relay: Hugh Donovan (Queensland University of Technology, Qld), Tom Gamble (University of Queensland, Qld), Nicholas Hough (University of Sydney, NSW), Ben Jaworski (University of Western Sydney, NSW), Jin Su Jung (University of Sydney, NSW), Andrew McCabe (Queensland University of Technology, Qld)
4x400m relay: Alex Beck (Bond University, Qld), Alexander Carew (Deakin University, Vic) Deluca Lawson-Matthew (University of Melbourne, Vic), Joshua Ralph (University of Sydney, NSW), Raymond Smith (University of New South Wales, NSW)
WOMEN (13 athletes):
100m: Ashleigh Whittaker (Deakin University, Vic)
200m: Ashleigh Whittaker (Deakin University, Vic)
400m: Anneliese Rubie (University of Sydney, NSW)
5000m: Madeline Heiner (University of New South Wales, NSW), Kate Spencer (University of Sydney, NSW)
100m hurdles: Michelle Jenneke (University of Sydney, NSW), Abbie Taddeo (ACPE, NSW)
3000m steeplechase: Madeline Heiner (University of New South Wales, NSW)
High jump: Hannah Joye (Griffith University, Qld), Nicola McDermott (University of Sydney, NSW)
Long jump: Naa Anang (Queensland University of Technology, Qld)
Discus throw: Alix Kennedy (University of Sydney, NSW), Taryn Gollshewsky (Central Queensland University, Qld)
Hammer throw: Lara Nielsen (University of Southern Queensland, Qld)
Heptathlon: Sophie Stanwell (University of Newcastle, NSW)
Athletes seeking selection in the men’s and women’s 10,000m, half marathon and 20km walk will be added at the final selection meeting, scheduled for the week commencing 4 May 2015.