UNIVERSIADE: Australian team excited about cultural experiences

Taipei--Members of the the Australian Universiade team were in high spirits Thursday, saying they are excited to both get into the competition and experience local culture.

"All we ever ask is that our athletes do the best they can and enjoy their Universiade experiences," Liz Brett, the team's chef de mission, said during a welcome reception hosted by the Australian Office Taipei.

Brett, who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said she hopes the team can finish in the top 10 in the games overall as there are many talented and experienced athletes in the largest-ever Universiade delegation from the country.

Brett added that she herself is eager to get a taste of local culture, saying that she has already tried fried tofu, a Taiwanese street food.

Most of the athletes said they are focused but also relaxed, as that attitude often brings out their best performances.

Jin Su Jung, who is competing in the men's 100 meters, said he feels in good shape and that the hot weather in Taiwan is perfect for a great performance.

Jung, who is attending his second Universiade, said he expects to capitalize on his past experience to find the best tempo for his races, breezing through the earlier rounds to save his energy.

"I want to have a more controlled campaign," said the 23-year-old, who finished seventh in the 100m at the 2015 Gwangju Universiade.

Meanwhile, swimmer Sian Whittaker, who will compete in the women's 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, comfortably demonstrated some of her warm-up stretches in front of local media.

The 20-year-old said she is staying calm, adding that if she has time, she would love to visit a night market.

The Australian team comprises 186 athletes competing in 16 sports, including water polo, gymnastics and swimming -- some the categories in which they are most competitive.

The Taipei games also marks the 50th year in which Australia has participated in the Universiade since its debut appearance at the Tokyo Games in 1967.

Over the past half-century, Australian athletes have won a total of 159 medals -- 45 golds, 44 silvers and 70 bronzes -- in the Universiade.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel