Uni Games girl power
by Kelly Stone
Five young female students have represented UniSA and Australia on the world sporting stage, competing in the World University Games in Russia last month.
Athletes Jocelyn Burnett (diving), Jessica Martin (water polo), Belinda Symons (water polo), Olivia Thompson (basketball) and Leah Cutting (swimming) were selected by Australian University Sport and their respective sporting bodies to represent Australia at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia.
Jocelyn Burnett (pictured right), who is studying a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Management, competed in the women’s 10m platform diving and came tenth.
She says the Games were three weeks of her life she definitely won’t forget.
“The Aquatic Palace where I competed was one of the best diving pools in the world,” she says.
“My competition was the 10m platform diving and there were 16 very competent divers including some who were at the 2012 London Olympics. I was coming fourth in the preliminary event and fifth after the semi-finals but unfortunately in the finals I dropped back to tenth position.
“Looking back on it now, coming tenth at a world international event is something I should be really proud of! Especially as I later found out I had been diving on a torn bicep for two months in the lead up to the event. Pushing through pain is one of my biggest strengths, but at the same time it is also one of my biggest weaknesses.
“This injury limited my training and unfortunately affected my performance on competition day, but I was just happy to be there and take the opportunity to experience an amazing world sporting event.”
Burnett says the athletes’ village and sporting facilities in Russia were amazing.
“It was great to compete and live with people from all around the world, and make friends from all around the world too,” she says.
“The crowd was incredible and it was by far the biggest crowd I have ever dived in front of.
“The atmosphere was insane – the Russians sure know how to cheer loudly – and I had the opportunity to dive in front of cameras for live television broadcast in Europe and here in Australia.
“I have so many memories from this competition that I will never forget.”
Leah Cutting finished tenth in the 10km Open Water swim, Jessica Martin and Belinda Symons finished fifth in the water polo, and Olivia Thompson won bronze in the basketball.
UniSA supported the students in a small way on their journey to the Games.
UniSA Sport Manager Brett Hidson says UniSA students can get involved in the University Games at regional level by registering their interest.
“Registrations are open until August 23 for the Australian University Games, which this year will be held on the Gold Coast,” he says.
“The Games are on from September 29 to October 4 and will also feature social events on each night of competition allowing students from different universities to socialise with each other. The Australian University Games is an event not to be missed and any UniSA student can participate.”
To register for the Australian University Games, go to UniSA’s Experience Plus webpage.