Gymnast does cartwheels over World Uni Games performance

21 Sep 2017

This article first appeared in the Engineering and Technology Alumni Newsletter, September 2017. 

Eleven University of Queensland students represented Australia’s Uniroos at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, Taiwan in August this year, including Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) (Mechanical and Materials) student Michael Mercieca.

The event, known as World University Games, was attended by more than 7600 university students from 131 nations. More than 150 Australian student-athletes competed at the Games, with UQ represented in athletics, gymnastics, judo, swimming, and table tennis.

Artistic gymnast and scholarship holder Mr Mercieca participated in his third World University Games, contesting individual and team events and coming fifth in the horizontal bars.

Mr Mercieca said the competition was vital in the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

We caught up with Mr Mercieca:

EAIT: What was it like competing at the World Uni Games? Were there any highlights?

MM: It was an amazing experience. It was my third time at the Games so I was familiar with the village environment, but being part of the Australian team competing is always an exciting experience. My competition highlight included qualifying for horizontal bar finals which I finished in fifth place.

EAIT: Were you happy with that placing – that’s incredible!

MM: I was so ecstatic to see myself place in the horizontal bar final to begin with. My original goal for the games was to qualify for the All Around final which unfortunately didn't go quite to plan. I knew I had an outside chance of horizontal bar finals and I was so happy with my qualifying routine and to see myself compete with the best in the world.

EAIT: What’s next? Are you preparing for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games?

MM: I am currently overseas preparing for World Championships in Montreal which I will compete in on the 2nd October 2017. Commonwealth Games preparation has already begun as well - the first trial is in December.

EAIT: What does that preparation involve?

MM: Lots of routines to improve the quality and consistency of my routines so I am confident going into the commonwealth games trials. I also need to make sure my body is in its peak condition which means regularly seeing the physio and monitoring injuries.

EAIT: Are you excited about the Commonwealth Games?

MM: Absolutely!! The feeling I get thinking about the Games gets me really hyped to potentially be part of the home team and compete in front of a home crowd, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

EAIT: How do you maintain your studies? Do you have any tricks to assist with this?

MM: Time Management. This semester has been my toughest yet to keep in touch with studies as I've been away so much. I am studying two courses this semester, which is half the usual load of a full-time student this helps me to maintain balance, but I also have had very good course coordinators that are understanding of my sporting commitments.

EAIT: What do you hope to do when you finish uni?

MM: I'd like to hopefully start doing materials research in my mechanical and materials engineering field.

Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient and Bachelor of Business Management/Bachelor of Information Technology student Ellen Wright also participated in the women’s 52-57kg judo competition at the World University Games, placing a formidable 13th overall.

The Summer Universiade is the largest multi-sport event in the world, after the Olympics.