Rio Olympian Heming Hu headlines the Uniroos table tennis team which has been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei.
The seven-member team includes Hu, who is studying a Bachelor of Education and Science as a double degree at Monash University while training towards being a full-time athlete before becoming a science teacher.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Hu wore the green and gold for the first time finishing ninth in both the men’s doubles, 17th in the mixed doubles and fifth in the team event.
He went on to qualify for the Rio Games for the team event where the Australians lost in the first round.
“This is my first World Uni Games so I must say that I'm not sure what my expectations are,” Hu said.
“I will just be expecting to enjoy every point out there and be able to play as well as I can.
“My current world ranking is about 360, I have moved down a lot in the world rankings since last year, but I hope I can move back up rapidly also.
“My ultimate goal is to be in the top 150 in the world.”
Once completing his degrees, he would like to go back to Europe and play full-time again in preparation to try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
“It’s definitely been difficult to manage my time with study and table tennis,” Hu reasoned.
“I am very fortunate to be in a fantastic University like Monash, who always values sport and helps their athletes with regards to deadlines.
“Basically, my whole time is spent training, competing, coaching young players and studying, there is barely any time for anything else.”
Having the experience of competing in Rio at the Olympics will most definitely put Hu in a great position to perform at the Summer Universiade as one of the team’s key players.
“The event itself was the pinnacle of the whole experience. Extremely difficult and so tense, so much pressure before and during matches,” he said.
“I played only one match in the doubles against the best professional players from Hong Kong and it was really difficult.
“We were outplayed by the world number eight and 41. I was happy with how we played in the end. My partner Chris Yan and I played well but were just outclassed in the end by tougher opponents.”
Also on the team is 2014 Oceania Cup silver medallist Kane Townsend who competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the singles and team event.
Promising Queensland teenager Jake Duffy who beat Heming Hu at a national top ten ranking tournament at Tweed Heads is also on the team.
Rossa To, who studies a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University, is coming off an impressive performance at the Victorian University Games in 2016.
She helped Monash achieve a bronze medal and was was then promptly selected to compete at the Summer Universiade in Taipei.
|Kane Townsend||University of Sydney||Bachelor of Science – Honours in Pure Mathematics|
|Heming Hu||Monash University||Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Education|
|Erny Tsao||University of NSW||Bachelor of Renewable Energy Engineering / Bachelor of Computer Science|
|Jake Duffy||University of QLD||Bachelor of Commerce / Bachelor of Economics|
|Sarah Tan||University of Sydney||Bachelor of Law / Bachelor of International and Global Studies|
|Antonia Zhang||Macquarie University||Bachelor of Security Studies|
|Rossa To||Monash University||Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Commerce|
The team will be led in Taipei by coach Peter Masen who runs his own table tennis academy in Maroubra, New South Wales with five of his students also preparing to compete at the Pacific School Games which will be held later this year in Adelaide.