UniSA Sport News

Three students representing UniSA at Summer Universiade

Posted By UniSA Sport on 15/08/2017

The University of South Australia is going to have a strong representation at the 2017 Summer Universiade, with three UniSA students selected for the Australian Uniroos team.

Fencer Georgina Barratt, volleyballer Malachi Murch and basketballer Chelsea Brook are participating in the event which begins in Chinese Taipei later this week.

Diver Sophie Hinks was also selected in the team but unfortunately had to withdraw with injury.

The Summer Universiade is the highest level of university sport available, and is the second biggest multi-sport event in the world, behind only the Olympics.

Having never competed at a multi-sport event before, Human Movement student Barratt believes this will be an important step towards other international events.

“This is going to be a really tough competition which will be a great stepping stone to other competitions,” Barratt said.

Barratt and her coach have been working overtime in the lead up to the Universiade to ensure that she will be as prepared as possible.

The extra nights of training have been filled with reading opponents and tactical work which has been going well.

With a number of the high level fencers not competing at this event, as they aren’t students, Barratt said it will be a really good chance to compete.

“I should be competitive in the field, and the more international experience I get and the more exposure to other fencers I have, the more I improve and that improves my confidence.”

Staying in the Athletes’ Village as opposed to a hotel with just the team is another part of the competition that will be different for Barratt, but another challenge she is excited for.

Luckily, Barratt has someone close by to draw experience from, as her mother Andrea represented Australia in fencing at a Summer Universiade in the 1980’s.

When Barratt was deciding whether to apply or not, her mum convinced her, “she said there is no other experience like it other than the Olympics, so I couldn’t pass an opportunity like that up.”

“Mum is really excited about it all, and I am too as not many people get an opportunity to do this, and I’m super proud and excited to represent UniSA and the Uniroos.”

Murch, who is also studying Human Movement, is one of 12 players selected in the men’s volleyball team for the Uniroos.

After having a contract in the Netherlands last season, Murch is one of the few members of the team who plays professionally.

Volleyball head coach Liam Sketcher said his experience is going to be really beneficial to the team.

“It’s a really big asset to have a guy on the team with his experience of being a full time professional athlete, particularly once you get into playing and training every day,” Sketcher said.

Sketcher said Murch would benefit from an extra international tournament, “Malachi played in the Asian under 23 Championships earlier this year but unfortunately was trying to manage some injuries at that point of time.”

“So for him, this Universiade is a great opportunity to show the full extent of his abilities.”

Sadly, Hinks won’t get the opportunity to compete in the Universiade after a training injury forced her withdrawal from the team.

However, even making the Uniroos squad is an achievement for Hinks, as five years ago, doctors told her she was never going to dive again.

A back injury stopped her from diving for four years, but last year her back felt better so she got back into the pool.

She was reoffered her SASI scholarship, and then a position on the Uniroos team.

That selection proved a few people wrong, “making the Universiade team meant the hard work to get back had definitely paid off,” Hinks said.

Unfortunately, the training incident has aggravated her old back injury, and she hyperextended her back.

It is going to be a slow process getting back into it, “it’s hard mentally at the moment, getting back in the pool is a scary thought, but I’m doing lots of rehab on my back, and I’m planning to start training again in a month.”

“My coach just wants me to focus on my physical and mental health, and then look at competitions after that.”

Despite missing what would have been a terrific learning experience at the Universiade, Hinks has already learnt a lot from diving.

Also studying Human Movement, there is a lot of balancing to do while studying and being an elite athlete, “I’ve learnt about time management and organisation.”

“I’ve also learnt a lot about persistence and resilience, and while my injuries have shown there is a whole other world out there, diving is still my number one priority.”

At only 19 years old, Brook is one of the youngest members in the Uniroos squad.

The Bachelor of Nursing student is a member of the Emerging Opals basketball team.

UniSA Sport wishes all three UniSA students luck with their travels to Taipei.

Written by Kirralee Thomas