UoN Student Olympian’s Take On Tokyo
It has been a proud few weeks for the University of Newcastle, with three of the institutes own students representing Australia in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Laura Rumbel gives you a unique, insiders perspective.
For UoN students and now Olympian’s Rose Davies and Kye Rowles, the experience was an unforgettable one. Here’s what they had to say about their time competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
How do you describe representing your country as an athlete?
For UoN’s Open Foundation’s student Kye Rowles the opportunity to represent Australia in soccer was something that was hard to put into words. The young, centre back for the Socceroo’s Olympic squad said it was “such an honour every time I get to play, especially at the Olympics.”
Primary Education student Rose Davies, alike Kye felt pride when qualifying to represent Australia in the 5000 metres running event. For the 21-year-old Novocastrian, the Olympics marked her first international competition, and for that to be the Olympics, “was an overwhelming but really exciting experience.”
What was the whole Olympic experience like, with the Covid19 restrictions?
The strict restrictions following the Covid19 pandemic saw athletes having to wear face masks immediately after competing in their event, tight restrictions in and around the Olympic villages and by no means an audience.
“Even though there were no crowds there, I had so much support from back home. I still felt like everyone was behind me. It was a big sense of pride,” said Rose.
What was the process of getting selected to attend the 2020 Olympics?
For 23-year-old Kye Rowles, the process of being selected into the Olympic Socceroo’s squad had been a long one, first starting when he was only 19. This year will be Kye’s 5th season playing with the Central Coast Mariner’s.
“I knuckled down and was lucky enough to score a spot on the Olympic squad.”
For Rose, her Olympic journey started back in mid-May when she travelled to Europe for a five-kilometre race. It was this five-kilometre race that saw Rose run a qualifying time for the 2020 Olympics.
“For me, to get that time in my first race in Europe was crazy.”
What would you say would be your highlight of your time in Tokyo?
For soccer lover Kye, the stadiums and the opportunity to play a total of three games against Argentine, Spain and Egypt for Australia in stadiums across Tokyo was a memorable highlight for him.
“It was such an unreal experience; the stadiums were unreal.”
Similarly, for Rose, stepping out onto the track at the Olympics and having her name called out was a real highlight for her.
“There have been so many people throughout my whole career that put so much work into me. It felt good, because I knew I was doing them proud.”
When did you first start your sport?
Following in the footsteps of his dad and older brother, Kye started kicking a ball from the age of three and began started playing for under 6’s at the age of four.
“I didn’t start taking it seriously until around fourteen, and then I tried out for some of the rep teams.”
Also starting at a young age, Rose started athletes at the age of twelve. Winning numerous national medals throughout her childhood, Rose would end up in the top 3 for the nation.
However, her road to the Olympics wasn’t always so smooth. “When I hit about sixteen, I hit a bit of a rough patch. I got injured and I kind of lost my love for the sport.”
It wasn’t until Rose finished school that she knew that she wanted to give racing a good crack. “When I hit about eighteen, I started getting real serious about it and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.”
What’s next for you?
“I think the next goal for me is to play for the Socceroo’s Senior team, as well as win something with the Mariner’s,” said Kye.
“Hopefully next year I can go to America and try to chase a qualifying time for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.”
Two other University of Newcastle students Brodie Smith and Dylan Littlehales will also represent Australia in the 2020 Paralympics over the next two weeks.
Photo by Koki Nagahama from Getty Images
Photo by Rose Davies