Panousis, Australia win gold medal at World University Games

(Virginia Tech swimmer Klaudia Nazieblo competed at the 2017 World University Games held in Taipei, Taiwan from Aug. 19-30 and submitted a blog with updates on how those with Virginia Tech ties fared. This is the final one.)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The Hokies went out on fire! It was a long way to the finals, but it finally happened, as we finally have a Hokie medal!

On Monday, Vanessa Panousis and her Australian women’s basketball team contested for gold against Japan. To qualify for the final, Australia beat host Chinese Taipei, who ended up third overall. In a very equal game, it all went down to the last quarter when Australia steamrolled past Taipei by a score of 79-74. Once in the final, Vanessa played very well on defense and also had two assists, helping her team win. In the final, Australia won 85-78 over the Japanese.

It was a huge success for a Hokie to make the podium at the World University Games. Through 10 days of competing in capitol of Taiwan, we ended with seven athletes making seven finals.

Chronologically, we saw sophomore women’s swimmer Reka Gyorgy in the final of 400 individual medley, and she finished seventh with a time 4:44.78. The second final came from Slovakian thrower Tomas Kruzliak. He competed on Thursday in the final of the men’s hammer, alongside current World Champion Pawel Fajdek. Kruzliak threw 66.60 meters to come in 11th.

With the same finish, but in the women’s javelin, was ACC and NCAA Champion Irena Sediva. During Friday’s final, Sediva reached 56.24 meters on her second attempt. Worth mentioning, she went into the final dealing with a shoulder injury. We are proud of fight and effort she put in for Hokies during the whole season.

Also on Friday night, we watched another superstar Hokie – men’s swimmer Robert Owen representing the U.S. in the 200 backstroke. Owen brought us a lot of emotion during the entire meet. Through the entire qualification process, he was a strong medal contender, finishing in seventh place. It was long and successful season for Owen. I believe the fact of competing in an international meet for the first time in his swimming career will motivate him to qualify for future meets as well.

It was a busy Saturday for myself, Klaudia Nazieblo. I competed in final of 200 butterfly, going in as the No. 8 seed. I was third through the first 150 meters, but in the end, fell to sixth position with a time of 2:12.47. Half an hour later, I competed in another final, this time on the 4x100 medley relay. Despite improving on the preliminary time, we finished eighth with time of 4:05.95.

Last but not least was incoming Hokie freshman Gershwin Greene from the Bahamas. He had good meet and a perfect opportunity to gain high-level competition maturity and experience. Hopefully, we will see him competing in sprint events in February during the championship season.

I would like to congratulate all athletes who represented Virginia Tech in the 29th World University Games. They represented seven different countries – but only one Hokie Nation. I am happy we could show the world what Hokies are made out of and hope that we have an even bigger, stronger delegation in two years time. I want to thank Virginia Tech and the athletics department for this amazing opportunity to share Hokie action in Taipei. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this blog.

Until next time, Go Hokies!

Klaudia Nazieblo

For updates on Virginia Tech Athletics, follow the Hokies on Twitter