Part Three: Elizabeth Inaba-Hill
“Even before you compete, you feel like a winner.”
Those are the words of UniSA student Elizabeth Inaba-Hill, who earlier this year travelled to Naples, Italy, to represent the Australian Uniroos at the Summer Universiade.
Inaba-Hall is a rhythmic gymnast who began competing in the sport when she was seven years old.
She was the national champion multiple times throughout her junior years and is currently ranked fifth overall in Australia, having already represented the country in international competitions in Israel and New Zealand.
However, the Universiade was her first multi-sport event and she said it was the biggest and most important one she had competed at.
“I grew a lot from the experience, my coach always says that one major competition is like two months of training and it really is,” Inaba-Hall said.
“They had cameras everywhere, a full audience, there was cheering and it sounded like a football game.
“To perform in front of people and to hear them cheer for you and scream your name, it’s something that not a lot of people get to experience.
“I felt honoured that people took time out of their day to come and see me perform, it was surreal.”
Inaba-Hill did “better than expected” at the competition, but it was comments about her performance that really thrilled her.
“My score improved from the nationals by a significant amount, but the best recognition was the comments from audience members and technical directors,” she said.
“Technically, I wasn’t the best or highest level but there were comments about my artistry and expression.
“I got a lot of people coming up to me and wanting to have a chat because I showed something that was different, by performing for the audience, rather than just doing tricks.
“For people to remember my routine because it was different was really special.”
For the full-time Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine) student, life is quite busy, studying four subjects, working five times a week while also training for three-to-four hours a day.
The time constraints mean that she is very much a part-time athlete, so Inaba-Hall is pleased the Summer Universiade gives those athletes an opportunity to compete on the international stage.
“It gave you the chance to meet athletes that are in a similar situation to you,” Inaba-Hall said.
“In sport, it’s difficult to deal with university and training at the same time, so everyone could relate to each other and it was quite special.
“A lot of athletes were talking about priorities and for them, this event was so special because they usually wouldn’t be able to go – given they aren’t full-time athletes.”
Photo Credit: YouTube