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Loughborough well represented at World University Games

Loughborough University is proud to be playing a major role in the Great Britain team heading to the World University Games, otherwise known as Universiade, which gets underway in South Korea today.

With seven athletes and two members of support staff, Loughborough makes up the largest part of the Great Britain team, which boasts a number of genuine medal contenders.

Leading the way for Loughborough is likely to be James Wilby, who represented England at the Commonwealth Games last summer. Contesting both the 1500m breastroke and the medley relay, Wilby has his eyes on success in East Asia.

“I am incredibly proud to represent Loughborough and it is going to be an amazing experience. It’s obviously all University students, it’s all people my age and to be able to go out there for Loughborough and for Great Britain is going to be an amazing experience.”

“It’s going to be a fast competition there’s no denying that, but I think aiming to go there, get a medal and get on the podium isn’t too unrealistic. It’s going to be tough but it’s a goal that I’m aiming for.”

Joining Wilby in the GB & NI team are gymnasts Gabriel Hannah and William Trood. Hannah, who has just completed year one of his mechanical engineering degree, will be making his GB debut in Gwangju after a difficult year.

“It’s been quite a struggle. Mechanical Engineering isn’t the easiest. I’m back and forth from the gym and lectures all day, so I’ve struggled but time management is important and I’ve managed to get it all done.”

“For me it’s a great privilege and a great honour. It's my first ever GB international so it’s going to be an amazing achievement and something that is definitely the highest I’ve done so I am really looking forward to it and really proud.”

Meanwhile teammate and economist Trood is full of confidence having won his second straight all around BUCS title.

“I’m really glad to get the call up and hopefully I can go and put in a really good performance for the team. The first day of competition is the team final and it also counts as qualification for the all around and the individual apparatus finals, so if that goes well we could do well as a team and we could also potentially make the individual finals. The other teams are really strong so it’s going to be difficult, but I’m sure we’ll go and do our country proud.”

Loughborough University is also extremely well represented on the badminton court, with no fewer than three women selected. Leading the medal charge will be Chloe Birch, who was instrumental in Loughborough Sport’s runner-up finish in the National Badminton League. She is joined by Kerri Scott and Viki Williams who make up a nine strong GB badminton team.

There is also representation in our other main racket sport, tennis, as second year Sports Science with Management student and reigning BUCS champion Olivia Nicholls heads to South Korea as the final member of the Loughborough contingent.

Of Loughborough being so well represented in Gwangju, Vice Chancellor Professor Robert Allison said:

“I am incredibly proud; sport is absolutely the heart of Loughborough, it’s part of our DNA. We have got more students from this University going to compete on behalf of our country than any other University in the country and we’ve got to be proud of that. The quality of what they do in sport is superb; the combination of what they achieve in sport and the fact that they are studying as well really says what Loughborough is all about.”

In addition to Hannah and Trood, Loughborough Gymnastics Head Coach Gheorghe Predescu will also be making the trip to South Korea as gymnastics team leader. This will provide invaluable support for the Loughborough duo as they aim to excel in both the individual and team events. Speaking of the news, Trood added:

“It’s absolutely amazing having Gheorghe on the team. I was very fortunate as I took two gap years after my A Levels where I actually came to train at Loughborough full-time. I’ve been with him for four years now and he’s an amazing coach. He’s got a proven track record with other great gymnasts from his home country Romania, and he was national coach here in Great Britain before taking this job, so he’s been great with us and we’re really looking forward to getting out there and showing what we can do.”

Rounding out the Loughborough representation is student Adam Disemore, who travels with the team as the Student Media Officer.