The Universiade brings together the best university athletes from across the globe to compete for their country in a multitude of sports. Many of these athletes hope to use the event as a springboard toward the Olympic Games, the world’s only event at which there is a higher number of participating athletes and countries.
To be eligible to compete, an athlete must be a full-time student at a university, college or Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel — or have graduated from one of these institutions in the year immediately prior to the competition. They must also be between the ages of 17-28 years old.
Huskies men’s volleyball player Braden McLean, women’s basketball player Dalyce Emmerson, wrestlers Natasha Kramble and Jill Gallays and former Huskies trainer and shooting competitor Kelsey Bjorkman all made the long trip to Russia to represent Team Canada.
Team Canada finished with 16 medals — two gold, five silver and nine bronze — tying for 15th place overall in medal standings. The two golds were won in athletics (200m), by Kimberly Hyacinthe from Terrebonne, Que., and swimming (100 butterfly), by Katerine Savard from Pont-Rouge, Que.
In preliminary play, the men’s volleyball team went 3-1, defeating the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Their only preliminary round defeat came in a 20-25, 25-19, 17-25, 22-25 loss to Chile.
Facing Ukraine in the quarterfinals, Team Canada lost a tight 21-25, 23-25, 23-25 battle which knocked them out of medal contention and into the consolation side of the draw.
In consolation semifinals, team Canada took down Korea 25-21, 15-25, 19-25, 25-16 and 15-8, advancing to the consolation final where they faced off against the Czech Republic for fifth place. The squad came through in straight sets 25-20, 27-25, 25-17.
After going 1-3 in round robin play, the Canadian women’s basketball team advanced to the playoff round due to point differentials. The squad was sent into the consolation round after losing 58-72 to Australia in the quarterfinals.
In the consolation semis, Canada was edged out in overtime 72-75 against Sweden, and then fell in the seventh place game against Hungary 55-60.
Former Huskies wrestlers Natasha Kramble and Jill Gallays competed in the women’s freestyle wrestling event. Kramble finished fifth while Gallays lost her opening round match.
Kelsey Bjorkman, former trainer for the women’s hockey team, competed in three shooting events. She finished 44th in 25m pistol qualification precision, 35th in 25m pistol qualification rapid and 57th in 10m pistol qualification precision.
Huskie athletes will next represent Canada at the 28th Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea in 2015.
Photo: Freestyle Photography