UWS athletes go for gold in Manchester
The folk at the University of Western Sydney will have two extra special reasons to sit glued to their TV sets when the XVII Commonwealth Games roll around in July.
They'll be cheering on Michelle Haage, Manager of the UWS Campbelltown gym, and Steven Wooldridge, a 1999 UWS Campbelltown graduate, as they compete in Manchester in their chosen sports and make Australia and the University community proud.
Michelle is the current Australian shot-put champion, while Steven is one of the country's best cyclists, ranked number one and number two in Australia for the team and individual pursuits respectively.
"To have been selected for the Australian squad is unreal. This is something I have strived for ever since I began cycling 12 years ago," says Steven.
"I'm really excited to be representing my country. I'll be competing in the 4000 metre team and individual pursuits. I hope to win a gold medal in the team pursuit - that's what I am focused on."
Michelle is equally as thrilled to be heading off to compete against the best shot-putters in the Commonwealth.
"I've been throwing shot-put since I was ten years-old, so it's a great reward to get to this level and get the chance to represent your country," she says.
Michelle knows her competition will be tough.
"The field for these Games is the highest ranking ever," she says.
"My best throw is currently 16 metres 19 centimetres, but I'm hoping to break 17 metres in Manchester. My dream result would be to win a medal, but my goal is to reach the final of my event because anything can happen from there."
Like many sporting success stories, Steven and Michelle's road to Manchester has involved immense dedication and personal sacrifice.
For Steven, it's been a particularly difficult journey after missing selection for the Sydney Olympic Games.
"I just missed out on selection for Sydney which was disappointing because I didn't get to race in front of a home crowd," Steven says.
"Also my Mum is quite sick at the moment, so I feel really anxious about leaving her behind for 9-10 weeks, but she is determined that I go.
"It's been a real struggle to get to this point, but my family have supported me through so much and have really inspired me to keep going. I know when I walk through the stadium at the Opening Ceremony it will all be worth it."
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