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Kelly Simm
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Kelly Simm to defend World University Games titles in Taipei 06/06/2017

INJURY may have plagued Southampton Solent gymnastic sensation Kelly Simm in recent months, but she’s determined to put it all behind her at this summer’s World University Games.

Held biennially in major cities across the globe, the World University Games (WUGS) sees athletes come together to compete across numerous sports with the Summer Universiade the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics.

Simm, 22, is one of almost 10,000 participants from over 170 countries expected to compete at the Games which will be held in Chinese Taipei from August 19 to 30.

At the last Games held in Gwangju, South Korea, Team GBR recorded its biggest medal haul in ten years, with 12 per cent of athletes medalling – a total of 11 podium finishes split between three gold, four silver and four bronze.

Three of those podium finishes were achieved by Simm herself, winning all-around gold, vault silver and floor bronze.

But following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with multiple injuries, the Southampton Solent University student isn’t focusing on the silverware this time round – rather, just getting back to what she does best.

“I feel really excited to have been selected, and my coach has been selected as team manager so it’s really great for both of us, especially given how well the last one went,” said Simm, a reserve for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“I think I’m in a very different position now compared to a few years ago. Last time, I went into it off the back of the Commonwealth Games and the Worlds.

“Recently, I’ve had a couple of serious injuries, so I’m going out there with the aim of just getting back to competing. Obviously, I always want to do the best I can, but I’m just excited to get going.

“In 2015, it was my first major all-around title, so it was a really big deal to me then. It’s still one of the best highlights of my career so far. It meant so much to me.

“At the start of 2016, I suffered a stress fracture in my back so that put me out for the summer, and then at the first competition back in October, I had a bad landing on my ankle.

“I’ve just had an operation on it about seven weeks ago, so it’s a bit up in the air at the moment what pieces I will compete in, but we’re on the right road.”

Team GBR is preparing to send its largest delegation to the Games since 2011, with over 110 athletes set to compete across 13 sports.

And with the likes of Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and London 2012 bronze-medal winning gymnast Beth Tweddle among those to have competed at the World University Games, Simm insists it is one of the best events sport has to offer.

“I didn’t realise just how big the World University Games was until I went in 2015. You’re in an athletes’ village and it’s just such a special thing to be part of,” said the sports science student.

“The competition is of very high standard. In 2015, the scores were really close, especially in the all-around competition, when we were just tenths of a second apart all the way around.

“This year, I’m hoping to get some new skills out on the bars. Because of my injury, I’ve been off my feet so I’ve been really able to work on my bars so I hope to do well.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be on the other pieces, I’m just taking it steady and we’ll see where I am nearer the time.”

WATCH: Kelly in action in Gwangju, at the World University Games in 2015.

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the national governing body for High Education (HE) sport, is responsible for delivering Great Britain representative teams in the worldwide international university sporting programme.

Over 100 athletes will represent the GB team in 12 sports including: archery, athletics, women’s football, golf, women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, men’s and women’s water polo and weightlifting.

Follow the team selections over the coming months, following the hashtags #WUGSGB and #TargetGREATNESS

For more information visit

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