At twenty-two Enid Sung had not done enough as a rhythmic gymnast to accept her time in retirement, making the Summer Universiade in Taipei a perfect competition to continue her comeback.
Serious injuries have come at disastrous times for the media and communications student at The University of Sydney who will compete at her second World University Games in August.
It is the third time the Strathfield local has been selected for the Unrioos but only the second time she will board the plane after missing out on Gwangju in 2015.
“This will be the third World University Games I have been selected for – two years ago I tore my hamstring the day before I was supposed to fly out,” Sung said from Sydney.
“I’m really excited, I mean this time last year I was doing Euro trip with my best friend and eating ice-cream three meals a day.
“So I kind of came back to the sport seven months ago.”
During the 2014 season she was very highly ranked in Australia and confident of earning a spot on the national team to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
That was until a serious shoulder injury ruined her season and put her on the sidelines for an extended period, making a return at any stage unlikely.
“Definitely (the Commonwealth Games are a goal), I mean last time I was sitting in second or third place (on the Aus rankings) and that was the year I dislocated my shoulder,” Sung explained.
“It kind of put me out and it was immobilised for about three months.
“I couldn’t move my arm above 90 degrees for about three months, so it took a lot of rehab for it to just get moving.
“So it wasn’t just a huge physical blow but a really big emotional let-down, having that goal in site and having it be quite achievable and then it coming down to an injury yet again.”
Her decision to return came after working as an academy coach for her club Le Ray Gymnastics Academy, assisting her long-time coach Danielle Le Ray with her junior members.
“My own coach had given me so much so it was really kind of nice to do something for her, for myself and the other kids who spend that much time in the gym,” Sung said.
“So I thought, I have two semi-functioning legs and two semi-functioning arms – and I’m not going to have this forever, so I might as well roll the dice and give it a go.
“So I’m considered quite a mature athlete in the world of rhythmic gymnastics now that I’m 22, I’m like a veteran, I need a pensioners card or something.”
Sung is in the final year of her degree and although she has had a different university experience than most of her fellow students she is looking forward to seeing where she will land after graduation.
“I guess the major difference was at university other people were going up to the pub between classes and it was something I couldn’t really join in on,” she said.
“I don’t really know anymore what I want to do, I’m interning now at Marie Claire the magazine – don’t know about print journalism now though.”
One thing that will be on Sung’s schedule in the future is her work with Jeep Management as a model and gymnast that has seen her feature in ads and photo shoots.
“I went in to meet them and the next thing I know I’m booking these incredible jobs,” she explained.
“Rhythmic gymnastics has definitely opened up so many doors for me and doing those sort of commercial works has just been a bonus that gymnastics has thrown my way.”
Sung will be joined by teammate Zoe Ormrod from the Queensland University of Technology as the only other female on the team, coached by Krasi Yurukova.
National champion Merceica set for third Universiade
Michael Merceica from The University of Queensland is preparing for his third appearance at the World University Games after claiming a national title earlier in the year.
In 2016, he was selected to represent Australia at the Aquece Rio Olympic Test Event at the Rio Games before going on to win the All Around national title in May.
"The main goal in Taipei for Australia is to test our team in preparation for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games so it is important to see what configurations work best and where our team is lacking strength, my personal goal is to make the All Around final at the Universiade," Merceica said.
"It’s really important to start our preparation early if we want any chances of rivalling England and Canada.
"This competition is great first step to making a strong team that will be able to compete for medals at the Commonwealth Games next year."
Merceica competed at the 2015 Summer Universiade placing 23rd in the All Around qualification in South Korea, and also featured in the teams event at the 2011 Games.
"Last year was quite disappointing to come away with an injury in qualifiers, but it all came together this year, which feels so good," he said after winning gold.
In 2014, he represented Australia at the world championships placing 26th in the teams event and has been selected to compete at the 2017 Individual Apparatus World Cup in Melbourne.
Joining Merceica in Taipei will be Canberra Institute of Technology student Christopher Remkes who also won a national title this year.
The multiple national level apparatus champion has represented Australia at the World Championships in Nanning, where he finished in 147th on Vault, and 107th on Floor.
Recently he was a part of the ‘one year to go’ launch for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games before winning gold in the vault final at the World Cup event in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Remkes is considered a legitimate gold medal contender next year on the Gold Coast, before he makes a bid to compete at the next Olympics in Tokyo.
|Rhythmic Gymnastics team:|
|Enid Sund||The University of Sydney|
|Zoe Ormrod||Queensland University of Technology|
|Artistic Gymnastics men’s team:|
|Clay Stephens||University of Canberra|
|Mitchell Morgans||University of Canberra|
|Christopher Remkes||Canberra Institute of Technology|
|Michael Merceica||The University of Queensland|
|Michael Tone||Queensland University of Technology|