Eight University of Melbourne students competed in the FISU World University Championships (WUC) in four cities across three continents, with two more to come.
Ben Collins scored a silver medal as part of the Australian Rugby 7s team in Namibia in July, losing 24 – 14 in the final to an unbeaten South African side despite a late fightback.
Wearing the green and gold on the world stage for the first time, Collins, a 2nd year Bachelor of Arts student, was incredibly proud to be representing the University of Melbourne. While some could be overwhelmed, Collins has relished balancing a full-time study load with a busy rugby training schedule.
‘I love having both rugby and uni running parallel in my life. I feel that they both enhance each other’ he said.
‘Being physically fit in turn helps my study, and using my brain academically helps me to analyse the game better and feel sharper. It’s been incredibly convenient to be able to train with such great coaches and facilities at the same location where I study’ he said.
2nd year Biomedicine student Amy Bongetti, representing the University at the WUC Karate competition in Japan, echoed a similar sentiment. ‘I make sure I contact my lecturers at the beginning of semester to ensure assessments do not clash with any of my competitions or training sessions.’
‘If you are passionate about something, you will make time for it.’
Bongetti was joined by Bachelor of Science student Mayson Nobetsu Chin and Master of Biomedical Engineering student Meezan Dickinson. She was given the privilege of carrying the Australian flag in the opening ceremony and was ecstatic to win her first round against South Africa. Although the trio was unable to make the medal rounds, Bongetti feels incredibly appreciative of the backing she received from those close to her.
‘Most people only see athletes at their peak performance. They do not see all of the effort, dedication and hard work that goes into competing at an elite level. I could never have reached this level without the support of those around me.’
Recent Bachelor of Science graduate Cyrus Monk, who maintained a full-time workload while competing at elite cycling events, noted that balancing study and cycling had been a challenging exercise in time management. ‘This meant a lot of lecture watching on planes and some very late nights churning out assignments, but a mental release from cycling through study was always refreshing,’ he said.
He was one of three University of Melbourne students competing in Braga, Portugal in the WUC Cycling competition. Monk finished 4th in the Time Trial, though unfortunately crashed out of the Road Race.
Ruby Roseman-Gannon also earned a 4th-place finish in both the Women’s Time Trial and Road Race. The 2nd year Science student said that ‘The racing has been really amazing, but I think it’s always the people who make cycling (and sport) what it is. A highlight has been meeting and talking to international athletes who share a love of cycling but come from a completely different culture.’
2nd year Science student Emma Chilton, along with Monk and Roseman-Gannon, battled temperatures exceeding 40 degrees in what was an exercise in carefully monitoring hydration and nutrition.
3rd year Bachelor of Environments student Asha Steer didn’t have heat-related difficulties competing in Orienteering in Finland, yet she wasn’t without challenges. At just 20 years old, Steer was making the step up to competing against older and more experienced runners. The WUC presented the perfect opportunity for this challenge and was for her ‘a great learning experience and a useful stepping stone from junior to senior level’.
Having just competed in the Junior World Championships the week before, as well as several international events prior, Steer said that the WUC was ‘the most social and fun international competition’ she had done. She was especially happy to be running alongside her sister, Lanita Steer, who is a University of Melbourne graduate having completed the Bachelor of Agriculture.
She finished the Relay course in a time of 53:04, as part of an Australian B side that finished 29th out of 36 starters. In the Sprints she finished 62nd out of 86, and 51st out of 89 in the Middle Distance.
MU Sport wishes good luck to Ella James and Lee Yen Khoo, who will compete in the upcoming WUC competitions in Futsal and Badminton respectively.
Ben Collins with his Australian Rugby 7s team mates (far right)
Cyrus Monk (far left) and Ruby Roseman-Gannon (far right) with Australian WUC Cycling team mates.