The second largest gathering of athletes after the Summer Olympics is about to get underway in Taipei. The World University Games is set to be a fantastic experience for young athletes who participate in a variety of sports from Archey, Billiards, Taekwondo and of course, Water Polo.
Both men’s and women’s teams are wrapping up overseas training camps in Japan and Singapore respectively before heading to Taipei for the 29th Summer Universidade. We caught up with QUT student and Uniroo player, Patrick Flanagan ahead of the Games.
Congratulations on being selected for the Uniroos team. You must be pretty excited?
Yeah, thanks. I’m really excited about going, this is my first major international tournament. I’ve got no more exams, so I can really focus on training and preparing for the tournament.
What a great achievement. So when did you find out about your selection and do you know many of the other players?
I found out about a month ago, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I’ve met most of the other guys before as we’ve played each other in National League. I’ve also billeted with one or two of the others and met a couple during the Towards Tokyo camp. They’re a pretty good group of blokes.
As a team do you have any goals to achieve during the tournament?
Yeah, there were a few of us at the Towards Tokyo camp and we had a bit of chat about our goals. Everyone obviously wanted to push out of the group stages, which is what we need to do first of all to achieve those goals. Our draw is really in our favour and there are a few cross overs that work in our favour as well. So there is a really good chance of making the quarter finals. Personally, I want to make the top four!
Fingers crossed! Are there any teams that you are looking forward to playing?
I haven’t played much international water polo, I’ve played school boys against New Zealand, which was a bit of an eye opener but they play similarly to us. It will be interesting to see how all the Asian teams play and obviously the big European giants like Serbia and Hungary. That will be a really good experience as I haven’t played against those sort of teams before.
The team looks really strong, is there a possibility of being included in the wider Aussie Sharks set-up?
There is always a possibility if you play well. Obviously, the selectors look at how you perform in the National League and against the current men’s squad. As a group, I feel like we are on the edge. Nic Brooks is already on the team and there are a few boys that are really pushing for selection. For me, I’ve always wanted to play for the Sharks internationally but I don’t know. I guess I am going to have to keep training hard. The Uni Games is a really good step forward for me at the moment. I’ve just got to grab the opportunity with both hands and go for it.
We wish the Uniroos the best of luck in Taipei. The men open their campaign on Friday, 18 August against Argentina at 1:00 pm and the women face Greece on Saturday, 19 August at 9:00 am.
All the fixtures, results and news can be found via the following link: www.2017.taipei/home