Irwin earns ticket to Italy
Wimmera-raised gymnast Hudson Irwin will again pull on the green and gold of Australia at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Italy next month.
The Universiade, also known as the World University Games, is an elite international multisport competition for university athletes, similar to the Olympics.
Irwin, 18, grew up in the Wimmera, training at Natimuk and District Gymnastic Club before relocating to Melbourne in 2015 and the Gymnastics Queensland High Performance Centre in Brisbane in 2017.
He has previously represented Australia at events such as the Austrian Future Cup in Europe and was a member of Gymnastics Australia’s junior international squad in 2017-18.
He won successive all-around gold medals at the Australian Gymnastics Championships as a junior in 2015 and 2016.
Irwin said he was thrilled when he was announced in the Australian team earlier this month.
“Any opportunity to represent your country is an honour and it is something I take immense pride in,” he said. “It is not only
a chance for me to perform on the international stage, but I cannot wait to have such a rewarding opportunity to learn from and compete against some of the top-level gymnasts in the world.
“The games will also be my first time competing in a multisport event like both the Commonwealth and Olympic games, so I am looking forward to being immersed in the atmosphere of such an event.”
Irwin won selection in the Australian team with a strong showing at last month’s Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne.
He competed in the senior international category – the top level of competition at the championships – for the first time, placing fourth all-around and winning bronze medals for his rings and parallel bars routines.
“Being my first national championships as a senior international gymnast, I placed a larger focus on performing my routines as best I could while keeping in mind that I was also in contention for some medal placings,” he said.
“I am very happy to have come away with a fourth placing in the all-around category along with a third placing on rings and parallel bars.
“Over the two days of competition, I had also managed to perform all 12 of my routines with no major mistakes so I could not have asked for much more.
“However, I would like to improve on the difficulty of my routines in the coming months and years as I continue to compete at senior international level.”
Irwin said he was looking forward to competing alongside two of his Queensland teammates – Heath Thorpe and Michael Tone – as part of a three-man team at the games.
“This year, each country sending a team to the competition only has three positions available as opposed to five positions previously,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how the standard of the competition differs with this change but, as always, I hope to gain as much as I can from the experience.
“To see myself qualify from day one into the final days of competition against some of the top athletes in the field would be incredible.”
The 2019 Summer Universiade will be in Naples, Italy, from July 3 to 14.
BALANCING ACT: Hudson Irwin competes for Queensland at the Australian Gymnastics Championships last month. Irwin won bronze on the parallel bars. Picture: WINKIPOP MEDIA