Melbourne University athletes heading to Naples

30th Summer Universiade

With just 50 days until the opening ceremony of the 30th Summer Universiade kicks off in Naples, Italy, the Australian UniRoos team are finalizing their preparations with the athletics team being named for the championships that begin July 3.

On the back of a record-breaking 2019 UniSport Nationals Athletics, the Athletics team has named a 59-member team to compete in Naples, one of the largest Australia has ever taken to the Summer Universiade, with 30 females and 29 males ready to light up the Stadio San Paolo track.

Among those athletes representing the UniRoos is 800m runner Catriona Bisset (The University of Melbourne, Master of Architecture and Diploma in Languages), who made headlines at the National Championships when she ran a sub-two minute 800m time, becoming the first Australian women to do so since 2008, smashing the UniSport record in the process.

Catriona’s time (1:59.78) was also good for fourth fastest all-time by an Australian in the event and was enough to qualify for a spot at the 2019 World Championships later this year.

It’s been a whirlwind past few years for Catriona, who has gone from strength to strength since returning to running seriously while studying a Master of Architecture and a Diploma of Chinese language at the University of Melbourne, with the performances impressing even herself.

“I had no idea I was going to do that. I was shocked (when I saw the clock). I was running scared the whole time” “I had no idea I was going to get a qualifier, that was completely not in the plan for the year.”

Joining Bisset in the squad is 2015 Summer Universiade silver medallist Matthew Denny (Griffith University, Bachelor of Business). Since claiming the silver medal in Gwangju 2015, the Griffith University student has gone on to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast where he won silver in the Hammer Throw event. But now he is back at the Summer Universiade looking for Gold.

Alysha Burnett (Australian Catholic University, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science) will also be looking to better her silver medal winning performance, having finished second in the Heptathlon at the 2017 Summer Universiade, while 2018 Commonwealth Games 20km racewalk champion Jemima Montag (The University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Science), will represent the UniRoos for the first time.   ​ Joining her will be Georgia Hansen (1500m) fresh off a big personal best at UniNationals, Lizzie Hedding (Long Jump) and Alex Patterson (10,000m). Mackenzie Keenan (400m hurdles, 4x400m) will be in the New Zealand team.

Melbourne University has a proud history at the Universiade headlined by Ralph Doubell winning the 800m in Tokyo at the 5th Summer Universiade in 1967 in the lead up to his gold at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

The UniRoos team will meet on Naples ready for the Opening ceremony on July 3. Competition will run over 12 days in 18 sports (with Australia competing in 15 of those), with over 200 Gold medals on offer.

The full UniRoos team selected to compete can be found here, and the athletics team here.