WA has a proud international hockey tradition, with UWA students and graduates taking a significant role in major achievements over the past decade.
And we will again feel proud as Fergus Kavanagh (men's hockey), Rick Charlesworth (men's coach), Kobie McGurk and Teneal Attard (women's hockey) and Adam Commens (women's coach) represent UWA at the Olympic Games.
But our repertoire is widening. Student and sailor Elise Rechichi will be competing in her second Olympics-hoping for her second gold medal. Water polo player Jamie Beadsworth is also fronting up for his second Games - amazingly, after suffering a stroke last year.
And this month, sports science student Janine Murray becomes WA 's first rhythmic gymnast to compete at Olympic level.
Behind the public face of the athletics success is a huge engine room and UWA is contributing sports scientists, computer scientists, physiotherapy, psychology and coaching.
Neil McLean from the School of Psychology is attending his fifth Olympics, in the role of sport psychology consultant with the Kookaburras, the men's hockey team.
His expertise helped the team win a gold, a silver and two bronze medals at the Barcelona, Atlanta, Athens and Beijing Games, and highlights the important role that psychology plays in the preparation of elite athletes.
Swimming is an Olympic sport that is often synonymous with Australian champions. And Winthrop Professor Mohammed Bennamoun and his team of researchers from the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering have been analysing the Australian swimmers' movement patterns in a bid to help them win Olympic medals.
Their research project uses three-dimensional imaging and biomechanics to quantify the patterns. "Until now there has been no 3D motion analysis system that can do this accurately and reliably in water," Professor Bennamoun said.
He is joined in the project by biomechanists Associate Professor Jacqueline Alderson, from the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, and Dr Andrew Lyttle from the Western Australian Institute of Sport.
And a UWA swimming coach's reputation has attracted a Paralympic swimmer from India. Sharath Gayakwad has been training with UWA Uniswim coach Mel Tantrum. He is competing in the 100m breaststroke and self-funded his trip to Perth after hearing a lot about Ms Tantrum from people in India.
UWA Health and Rehabilitation Clinic physiotherapist Cindy Davis is also working with Paralympians. She has been selected as a senior physiotherapist for the canoeing and rowing competitors in the Paralympics.
And still in the water, final year Law/Commerce student Heidi Gans is competing in the open water swimming event - representing her home country of Malaysia.
While most eyes are on London, not all elite sports are represented at the Olympics. Law student Verity Long-Droppert (daughter of Pro Vice-Chancellor Jane Long) is competing for Australia in the World Championships of Softball this month in Canada.
Softball was dropped from the Olympics after the Beijing Games, so the World Championships are now softball's equivalent - while an international move is under way to get the sport returned to the Olympic arena.
And the Deputy SKA Project Scientist, Minh Huynh, is also competing at international level outside the Olympics. She is taking part in the World Ultimate Championships in Japan. Ultimate is a team sport played with a disc or frisbee on a grass field with zones similar to rugby.
Seven UWA students will also be competing in international rowing over the next few months. They were featured in UWAnews on 11 June.
(In more sporting news, Roberto Busi from the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, based in the School of Plant Biology, won the Perth Marathon last month in a new personal best time of two hours, 32 minutes. Research Assistant Professor Busi was featured in UWA news on 16 April.)
Published in UWA News, 23 July 2012
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