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Rio Olympians to headline Australian Universiade team

12 April 2017

ATHLETICS: The rising stars of Australian athletics, including four debutants from last year’s Olympic Games, will compete at the 29th Summer Universiade this August, with Athletics Australia today confirming the track and field team bound for Taipei.

Headlining the 34-strong team will be Rio Olympians Michelle Jenneke (University of Sydney, 100m hurdles), Rachel Tallent (University of Canberra, 20km walk) and Matthew Denny (Griffith University Gold Coast, discus and hammer throw) who all won medals in Gwangju two years ago.

Also selected in the team is fellow 2016 Olympian Jenny Blundell (University of Sydney, 1500m, 5000m) with a further six track and field athletes competing for the Australian Uniroos at their second consecutive World University Games.

In women’s events, Taryn Gollshewsky (Central Queensland University) and Nicola McDermott (The University of Sydney) return for action in the discus throw and high jump respectively, while Nicholas Hough (University of Sydney) starts in the men’s 110m hurdles, along with Angus Armstrong (University of Sydney, pole vault), Kyle Cranston (Australian Catholic University, decathlon) and David Brock (RMIT University, decathlon).

Lora Storey (Australian College of Physical Education) will compete in the women’s 800m after a stunning victory in the women’s two lap race at the 2017 Australian Athletics Championships, with national long jump champion Chris Mitrevski (RMIT University) also set to make his Uniroos debut.

“The World University Games provide a fantastic opportunity for Australia’s up and coming athletes to be exposed to the rigours of international competition, and with this in mind the overriding selection principle has been to select a team that features all qualified and eligible athletes,” Dion Russell, Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors, said.

“Athletics has a proud history of success at the Universiade and I am confident that the selected team can build on this tradition.

"The athletics section features three medallists from the event two years ago returning for competition and many national champions or championship medallists keen to make their mark on the world stage.”

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, 100m hurdles), Ralph Doubell (800m), Alison Inverarity (high jump), Emma George (pole vault), Dani Samuels (discus throw) and Kylie Wheeler (heptathlon).

The Summer Universiade is held every two years under the banner of the International University Sports Federation. Athletics has been a fixture of the competition schedule since the Universiade began in Turin (ITA) in 1959.

At the 2015 edition in Gwangju (KOR), Australia’s athletics section won an impressive five medals.

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) led the way to gold in the men’s 20km walk in a time of 1:21:30. This great result was joined by a silver medal to Denny in the men’s discus throw and bronze to Naa Anang (Qld) in the women’s long jump, Jenneke in the women’s 100m hurdles and the team of Tallent, Stephanie Stigwood (NSW) and Nicole Fagan (NSW) in the women’s 20km walk.

The 29th Summer Universiade will be held in Taipei (CHN) on 19-30 August, 2017.

The full Australian team can be viewed HERE

Athletics Australia

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