James Cook University congratulates all competitors at the UCI MTB World Championships, following a spectacular finish in the elite women’s downhill race, in which JCU’s Tracey Hannah crashed and still claimed third place.
“With the World Championships being held on the rainforest slopes behind JCU Cairns, and the finish line on our campus, we have watched the world’s best do battle on a demanding course,” Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of JCU’s Cairns campus, Professor Robyn McGuiggan said.
“This is not a sport for the faint-hearted. We’ve been stunned by the athletic achievements of the competitors, and we’ve learnt many lessons of dedication, focus, and courage from athletes from 46 nations.
“Some of those lessons came from two JCU students representing Australia in the Women’s downhill event, who have given us good reason to be proud.
“Cairns Business student Tracey Hannah picked herself up after a major crash and then raced her heart out to make up for lost time and finish less than two seconds behind the winner. It was a privilege to watch her race,” Professor McGuiggan said.
Townsville Sport Science and Psychology student Katie Lawlor didn’t race today, having broken her collarbone in practice yesterday, but she left hospital this morning to cheer on her team.
“While Tracey has been a world leader in her sport for many years, Katie is relatively new to racing,” Professor McGuiggan said. “They have both inspired us with their dedicated preparation, and the courage and determination they’ve shown in training and competition.
“We congratulate them both and wish them well in their racing careers as well as in their studies, and of course we wish Katie a speedy recovery.”
JCU Sport and Exercise Science lecturer Dr Glen Deakin, who has worked closely with Tracey as part of JCU’s High Performance Initiative, said being the hometown favourite was both an advantage and an added pressure.
“The sport and the competition schedule are hard on everyone, with lots of travel between events, but that support on the track and at the finish line is something that can really lift you, and Tracey will have welcomed that today,” he said.
Professor McGuiggan thanked staff and students who volunteered at the event.
“In particularly I want to acknowledge Dr Glen Deakin and his colleague Associate Professor Stephen Bird. Their expertise has been invaluable.
“With student volunteers, they have run the JCU Recovery Lounge in the competition village all week, providing a space for athletes to relax and recover after their training and races. JCU Sports Science and Physiotherapy students have been providing massages, stretching, and specialist equipment to help speed recovery.
“I know the Recovery Lounge has been one of the busiest tents on site, and that their services have been appreciated by many competitors.”
JCU arranged for the mid-semester break to coincide with the World Championships, and has hosted many thousands of visitors onsite. “This an important event for Cairns, injecting millions into the region’s economy and no doubt inspiring many young riders. We’re proud to be a part of it,” Professor McGuiggan said.
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