Taipei via London for athletics headline acts

The rising stars of Australian athletics, including six athletes from the recent IAAF World Championships in London, will compete at the 29th Summer Universiade as the athletics competition commences on Wednesday.

Headlining the 44-strong squad will be 2015 World University Games bronze medallist Michelle Jenneke (The University of Sydney, 100m hurdles), Nicholas Hough (The University of Sydney, 110m hurdles), Georgia Griffith (Monash University, 800m), Nicola McDermott (The University of Sydney, high jump), Taryn Gollshewsky (Central Queensland University, discus) and Rohan Browning (The University of Sydney, 100m/4x100m relay).

Fresh off a semi-final appearance at her second world championships, Jenneke heads into the Games with confidence knowing she is fit after a consistent but very long season.

“I think I'm running quite well,” Jenneke said from the Athletes’ Village in Taipei.

“London was really good, I was really happy with my performance there. Conditions weren't great so to pull those times I was pretty happy with that.”

By her own admission Jenneke will be relishing the warmer 35°C degree weather in Taipei.

“It's a good temperature here,” Jenneke said.

“I much prefer the hot but it means I've had to drink a lot of water to keep hydrating - I think I've had about four litres today,” she added.

Jenneke, who studies mechatronics, a combination of mechanical and electronical engineering, said she was in awe of fellow Australian Sally Pearson’s performance in London to take the gold medal and the world title.

“I knew she was going to be hard to beat and it was incredible watching her do that and be the world champion after everything she's been through injury-wise.”

Jenneke will compete alongside Gold Coast based hurdler Liz Clay (Griffith University) as Australia’s two representatives in the 100m hurdles when their competition commences on Friday, as Nicholas Hough competes in the men’s 110m hurdles.

Three-time national champion Hough also competed in Gwangju two years ago and finished in 13th place overall.

20-year-old Georgia Griffith will also toe the line in Taipei, after a breakthrough season that saw her qualify for both the 800m and 1500m at the world championships.

The Melbourne-based Bachelor of Communication Design and Business student ran a fast time of 2:00.90 over two laps in Portland, a time that sling-shotted her up to 13th on the all-time Australian rankings, and not far off the top ten.

A name to watch in Australian middle-distance running, Griffith placed fourth at the world junior championships three years ago over 800m and also competed in the final of the 4x400m relay.

2017 Australian champions Chris Mitrevski (RMIT University) and Alysha Burnett (Australian Catholic University) will start in the men's long jump and women’s heptathlon respectively, while 2015 Australian pole vault champion Angus Armstrong (The University of Sydney, pole vault) takes to the runway in Taipei.

A full set of four relay teams will take to the track as University of Sydney sprinter and returning Uniroo Jin Su Jung also takes on the individual 100m.

Jung will also play his part in the men’s 4x100m team alongside Rohan Browning (The University of Sydney), who is also competing in the 100m, with Simon Greig (The University of Queensland) and Nicholas Bate (The University of Newcastle).

Two years ago at the Gwangju Games, Jung was a finalist in the 100m, finishing 7th, before leading off the 4x100m relay team that finished a nail-biting 4th place.

Jung says he learnt a lot from his first World University Games experience and will benefit from it in Taipei.

“I was very nervous going in the heats in 2015 and perhaps ran it a little too fast than I needed to. This time around I am hoping to run a more controlled campaign rather than go guns blazing from the beginning,” he said.

The athletics in at the Universiade in Taipei runs from Wednesday 23 to Wednesday 30 August 2017.

Read more on the Australian Uniroos website.

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