Student athletes take over Naples

Student athletes take over Naples

Five elite student athletes and coaches will be chasing gold at an event dubbed the world university games.

The team have been selected to represent Australia as part of the UniRoos squad at the biannual Summer Universiade being held in Napoli, Italy from 3-14 July, joining a squad of 184 student athletes from 65 Australian and International universities.

The competition is the world’s second largest international multi-sport event behind the Olympics, with almost 6,000 athletes from 112 countries competing in 222 events across 18 sports.

For many athletes, the event is a stepping stone to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

Joining the Australian athletics team, the largest team in the UniRoos squad, will be Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours) student and heptathlon champion Celeste Mucci.

Bachelor of Business (Marketing) graduate Christopher Mitrevski and Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning)/Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) student Darcy Roper will also be a part of the athletics team, competing in long jump.

Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Aeronautical) student James Gaze said he was excited at the chance to represent his country in archery.

James Gaze competes in archery. Student James Gaze will represent Australia in archery.

He said was also looking forward to using his experiences at the event to bring him closer to his long-term goals in the sport, adding that the RMIT Elite Athlete Program (REAP) had helped him juggle study and his sporting career.

The recently re-launched program was designed to support the next generation of elite or emerging athletes and coaches as they balance sport and study.

It offers more than 200 students each year flexibility and assessment support to help them achieve their sporting and academic aspirations.

“REAP allowed me to move assignments around so they can fit my schedule instead of having to focus on completing them while I am competing,” Gaze said.

He advised new athletes coming into the program not to worry about missing classes because of training and competition.

“Just stay focused and use the benefits of the program if you have an issue.”

Master of Applied Science (Acupuncture) student Yukyung Song’s skills in Taekwondo (Poomsae) have already taken her around the globe.

Yukyung Song at the Summer Universiade in Taipei. Student Yukyung Song coaching at the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade.

After coaching the Australian Summer Universiade taekwondo team in Taipei in 2017, Song will reprise the role in Naples.

She said she was excited about seeing how the UniRoos team improved from the last Universiade and meeting teams from other countries.

REAP helped her achieve goals in elite sport while at university.

“Financial support from REAP was essential for me to go coach our taekwondo national team,” she said.

“The program gave me more flexible time to focus on my study as well as coaching taekwondo.”


Story: Jasmijn van Houten


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