An Olympian and a host of fresh faces have been chosen in the taekwondo team representing Australia at the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade.
The 29th FISU Summer Universiade, also known as the World University Games is a biannual event featuring the world’s best student-athletes in an Olympic style competition in Taipei, Taiwan from 19 – 30 August 2017.
Headlining the 17-strong team is Rio Olympian and Pacific Games champion Hayder Shkara (University of Technology Sydney). Shkara, who was just one win away from attending the London 2012 Olympics, made his debut in Rio in the welterweight 80kg category, but came up against eventual silver medallist Lutalo Muhammad of Great Britain in the preliminary round.
But before he heads to his first Summer Universiade, Shkara, will compete for Australia at the Taekwondo world championships which run from June 22-30 in Muju, South Korea.
“My world championships preparations have been great,” the Sydney-sider told the Australian Olympic Committee before departing for the championships.
“We’ve got the experience that we’ve had from Rio and we’re feeding off that to get the best results possible.”
Joining Shkara on the world championships team are Taipei-bound fighters Keshena Waterford (Canberra Institute of Technology) who will compete in women’s <49kg division, Bailey Lewis (Victoria University) who will compete in the men’s <54kg division, and Thomas Afonczenko (Australian Catholic University) who will compete in the men’s <68kg divison.
For Thomas Afonczenko, the Summer Universiade will be a special occasion as it will be one he’ll share with his younger brother Will (Australian Catholic University), as the pair head to a major championships together for the first time.
“I'm over the moon Will’s coming,” Thomas said.
“Having Will on the team is really exciting for me, he's my training partner and he pushes me to be the best I can be. When I have Will travelling with me I feel unstoppable.”
“I can't wait to see him do damage in the flyweight division!”
Having reached the Round of 16 at the 2015 Gwangju Universiade, Thomas will head to Taipei with more international experience under his belt and believes he’ll be much better placed this time around.
“Coming in to Taipei I feel a lot more confident in my ability, if I'm honest I was happy to be in Gwangju competing in such a prestigious event. This time round my mindset is a bit different - I desperately want to be on the podium. I have the ability to beat anyone so I just need to execute well on the day.”
Another athlete who is set to compete in his second Summer Universiade is Jack Marton (Curtin University), who has dropped down in his weight division from <80kg to <74kg in the men’s Kyorugi competition. At Gwangju in 2015, Marton reached the quarterfinals, a commendable effort.
Jack’s pedigree reads strongly with his older sisters Carmen and Caroline both Olympians. Carmen famously became Australia’s first ever taekwondo world champion in 2013.
Another returning Uniroo will be Thomas Auger (Flinders University) who will compete in the <63kg Kyorugi competition.
Fourteen athletes will be sparring in the Kyorugi competition (where points are won for hits to an opponent), while three others will compete in the Poomsae competition (where a series of defence and attack motions are performed and scored).
Exercise science student Phong Tran (Victoria University) will also compete in the Poomsae competition after travelling to Peru last year to compete in the World Poomsae Championships.
Tran is just one of many students to have thanked his university for the opportunity to pursue elite sport.
“Victoria University has been very supportive of us,” Tran said.
“I’m fortunate being one of the three athletes from VU going to Taipei, and it’s been great that they have been able to be flexible with our study - we’re very thankful for that.”
Kyle Knowles and Katarina Pavkovic will head to the Games together and compete in the pairs competition after also attending the 2016 Poomsae World Championships as a pair last year.
Australian Summer Universiade Taekwondo Team
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Ama Adjei||ACT||Under 53||Australian National University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Juliet Contreras||ACT||Under 46||Australian National University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Eve Ember||Vic||Under 73||Macquarie University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Stephanie Freeman||ACT||Under 62||Australian National University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Lorna Munro||ACT||Under 67||University of Canberra|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Catherine Risbey||ACT||under 57||Australian National University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Keshena Waterford||ACT||Under 49||Canberra Institute of Technology|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||William Afonczenko||Vic||Australian Catholic University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Thomas Afonczenko||Vic||Under 68||Australian Catholic University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Thomas Auger||NSW||Under 63||Flinders University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Bailey Lewis||Vic||Under 54||Victoria University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Jack Marton||Vic||Under 74||Curtin University|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Adam Meyers||Vic||Over 87||Swinburne University of Technology|
|Taekwondo - Poomsae||Katarina Pavkovic||ACT||Individual/Pairs||University of Canberra|
|Taekwondo - Poomsae||Kyle Knowles||ACT||Pairs||University of Canberra|
|Taekwondo - Poomsae||Phong Tran||Vic||Individual||Victoria University|
UPDATE: Hayder Shkara has since withdrawn from the team.
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Danny Crkvencic||ACT|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Ali Khalil||NSW|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Joon No||Vic|
|Taekwondo - Kyorugi||Alex Sootho||NSW|
|Taekwondo - Poomsae||Yukyung (Amy) Song||Vic|