The World University Games, also called the Universiade, is the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympics, and will take place in Chinese Taipei this year between the 19th-30th of August. The event is held biennially in major cities across the globe and sees over 10,000 athletes from over 170 countries come together to compete across 22 different sports.
The Games is the only summer multi-sport event in the world that brings together students at both academic and athletic levels, and the competition takes place over twelve days and is broadcasted by more than 100 television channels. Loughborough University has had much success at the Universiade in the past, and will again be well-represented within the Great Britain team, with Loughborough students being selected across many sports. So far, only eight sports have announced their qualified athletes and these include athletics, swimming and tennis.
For athletics, Jess Judd has been selected to contend the 5000m, after successfully completing an unusual double at the BUCS Championships by claiming gold in both the 800m and the 5000m. Judd broke into the international scene at the age of 16 when she medalled in the 800m at the 2011 World Youth Championships and the 2012 World Junior Championships. One of her greatest achievements following this was placing fourth at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Having never competed at the Universiade, this will prove an interesting opportunity for Judd to test herself over the 5000m instead of her usual 800m or 1500m.
Joining Judd on the athletics team is Loughborough student Jessica Turner, who will compete over the 400mH after setting a new personal best this year of 56.68. Joining Judd and Turner, Loughborough student Samuel Osewa will also be travelling to Taipei in hopes of performing well over the 100m. The previous 4 x 100m European U23 champion will look to further improve his new personal best of 10.21 come the end of August.
Loughborough University is also extremely well represented in the swimming pool, with no fewer than four swimmers representing Loughborough out of the 16 selected. Perhaps the most seasoned out of the group, Rachael Kelly will hope to make a splash and possibly bring home a medal in the 100m butterfly after previous success at both the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 World Championships.
Joining Kelly is long-distance swimmer Tobias Robinson, who boasts achievements such as a silver medal in the 400m freestyle at the British Swimming Championships and a win in the 10km at the 2015 LEN cup. Charlotte Evans will join her fellow Loughborough swimmers after claiming bronze at the British Championships over the 200m backstroke, and Alice Dearing will also be travelling to Taipei after winning an impressive gold medal in the 10km race at the 2016 World Junior Open Water Championships.
Loughborough will also be represented on the tennis courts by Olivia Nicholls, who will be confident going into the competition as she has recently won five ITF doubles titles. This was achieved whilst being a pro player-coach at the same time, which is a programme initiative run by the Tennis Foundation, the LTA and TASS, which allow athletes to support their own careers by coaching at the same time.
More Loughborough University athletes will without a doubt be announced to compete at the Universiade as more sports announce their teams over the next few weeks.