In two weeks the UniRoos, a team made up of 184 elite student athletes from 65 different universities, will kick off their campaign across 14 different sports at the 30th Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy.
Held from 3-14 July, the Summer Universiade is the world’s second largest international multi-sport event behind the Olympics and will act as a stepping stone to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
Former UniRoos include Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallists Steve Moneghetti (athletics), Steve Hooker (athletics), Dane Bird-Smith (athletics), Michelle Timms (basketball), Catherine Skinner (shooting) and Cate Campbell (swimming).
Looking to defend their title from 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan the Emerging Opals have put together the team to beat with the addition of Commonwealth Games gold medallist and the WNBA Seattle Storm’s number 12 draft pick Eziyoda Magbegor (Psychology, Deakin University).
The Emerging Boomers will look to improve upon their ninth spot finish in 2017 by adding some key talent to the squad including Brisbane Bullets player Will Magnay (Business, Open Universities), Duke University’s Jack White and St. Mary’s University’s Jock Perry.
Donning the green and gold in Italy include Olympians Matthew Denny (athletics / Business, Griffith University), Morgan Mitchell (athletics / Business, Collarts), Jack Rossiter (shooting / Business, Flinders University) and Jacob Hansford (swimming / Business, Australian College of Physical Education) along with 13 who’ve competed at the Commonwealth Games including gold medallist Jemima Montag (athletics / Science, The University of Melbourne).
The largest team in the UniRoos squad is athletics with 53 athletes, led by Olympians Denny and Mitchell with a strong core of emerging talent including Gold Coast sprinter Riley Day (Business, Griffith University), national 100m hurdles and heptathlon champion Celeste Mucci (Interior Design, RMIT University), rising 800m runner Catriona Bisset (Architecture & Planning, The University of Melbourne) and Townsville sprinter Jake Doran (Business, James Cook University).
Ones to watch in the pool include William Yang (Architecture & Planning, The University of Sydney) who defeated Commonwealth Games medallist Mitch Larkin the 50m backstroke at the 2019 Australian Swimming Championships and daughter of Olympian Greg Rogers, Dahlas Rogers (Information Technology, University of Sunshine Coast) who is on the cusp of making the Dolphins senior squad.
The UniRoos sailing team is another powerhouse looking to defend their world title from the 2018 World University Sailing Championships in France and diver Emily Meaney (Health, Purdue University) is looking to improve upon her silver from 2017.
Back for her fourth Games as Chef de Mission is Sydney volleyball Olympian Liz Morgan-Brett who brings a wealth of knowledge to the role and knows the importance of the Universiade experience.
“This is the best platform for athletes looking to go further. These student athletes will face challenges at the Summer Universiade that sets them up for the Commonwealth Games and Olympics,” Morgan-Brett said.
“This is as close to the Olympics as you can get. When I walked out into the Opening Ceremony in Kazan (2013 Summer Universiade) there were over 100,000 people there and it felt like walking out in Sydney again.”
In the 2017 Summer Universiade the UniRoos finished with nine medals – four gold, three silver and two bronze. Australia’s best ever result came in 2015 in Gwangju, Korea with a total of 19 medals, four gold, three silver and 12 bronze.
To be eligible to participate in the Universiade, athletes should be undergraduate or graduate students between the ages of 17 and 25 years of age as at 1 January in the year of the event or have graduated in the year immediately preceding the year of the event.
The 2019 World University Games will begin on Wednesday 3 July and run until Sunday 14 July. Information about the event can be found here: https://www.universiade2019napoli.it/en/.