Three UniSA students will be competing in next month’s Commonwealth Games – and they are in high contention to deliver Australia one or more gold medals.
Track cycling sprinter Matthew Glaetzer, who’s studying a Bachelor of Human Movement with UniSA, is still celebrating after storming to his maiden sprint world crown at the 2018 UCI Track World Championships in the Netherlands earlier this month.
Matthew’s electrifying speed tore through the field, with the 25-year-old claiming the Australian Cycling Team’s first gold in the men’s blue riband event in 16 years.
“I have been wanting to pull that jersey on for so long, so to see the Australian flag raised above me was such a special moment,” Matthew told Cycling Australia.
Matthew has earned five top-six finishes at the World Championships since 2013, including the 2016 silver medal. He also finished just outside the medals at both the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (fourth) and the 2014 Commonwealth Games (fifth).
“I have finally backed up the speed, finally put the money where the legs are so to speak,” he said.
Australian platform diver Taneka Kovchenko, who’s studying a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, has earned a place in Australia's 14-strong diving team.
Taneka says she’s excited to be in the team and is hoping for a top showing in her events which include the 10m and the 10m synchro with champion Melissa Wu.
"It will be nerve-wracking competing at home but we are ready to show Australia what we can do," Taneka says.
National coach Michel Larouche says the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) athletes have done a great job to make the team.
"It’s been a great accomplishment and exciting for all of them and certainly for Taneka to make the diving team in two events, the women's platform and women's synchro platform after only three-and-a-half years of diving on the 10m platform," Larouche says.
Bachelor of Human Movement student Kurtis Marschall, 20, is a strong contender for a gold medal in pole vault.
His personal best in the event, 5.80 metres, was set earlier this year in Perth. He equalled this height at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, where he placed fourth.
Kurtis is coached by former national championship medallist Kym Simons. Athletics Australia says pole vault has been the strongest event in South Australia’s history with the State producing and developing six of the top 10 Australian pole vaulters.
Kurtis is aiming for gold in the Commonwealth Games.
Marathon runner Jessica Trengrove, a UniSA physiotherapy graduate, is also a strong contender for gold at the Games.
Last year, the 30-year-old recorded the best-ever finish by an Australian woman in the marathon at the world championships in London, and she was subsequently named The Advertiser/Channel 7 Sport Star of the Year for 2017. Trengrove represented Australia at the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. She won bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
UniSA program director for Exercise and Sport Science Dr Alyson Crozier says she’s looking forward to insights from the commentating.
“What most commentators don’t realise is that a lot of their reporting and commentary is actually drawing on sports psychology principles,” Dr Crozier says.
“It’s a fascinating exploration of what goes into becoming and excelling as an elite athlete.”
The Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast between 4 and 15 April.