Four La Trobe University Elite Athlete Program (LEAP) members will begin their quest for gold when the 2022 Commonwealth Games gets underway in Birmingham next week.
La Trobe students Amy Lawton (Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics – Honours) and Josh Katz (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science) will momentarily put their academic pursuits to one side as they shift their full focus to representing Australia in their respective sports of Hockey and Judo.
For Lawton (a TechnologyOne High Performance Sport Scholarship holder), the 2022 Commonwealth Games provides her and her Hockeyroos teammates the perfect opportunity to atone for the disappointment of the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, where Australia was bundled out in a surprise quarter-finals loss to India after a promising campaign up until that point.
At just 20 years of age with 24 national caps under her belt (and three goals), Lawton has already established herself as a key member of the Hockeyroos set up and will play a vital role as a midfielder throughout her debut Commonwealth Games campaign.
Six years after becoming Australia’s youngest ever judoka at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Josh Katz will also be making his Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham. The 24-year-old, who joined the LEAP program at the start of this year, has been named in Australia’s judo squad of 12 and will compete in the Under 60kg category.
Katz and his older brother Nathan (competing in the Under 66kg category) will become just the second set of brothers to represent Australia in the sport at the Commonwealth Games after Steven Hill and Thomas Hill in Manchester in 2002.
Lawton and Katz will also be joined in Birmingham by fellow LEAP members Caitlin Parker (Diploma of Sports Coaching & Development) and Mack Horton (Bachelor of Applied Business).
Parker, a boxer who also studies as a Carlton College of Sport student, will be aiming to go one better than her 2018 Commonwealth Games performance on the Gold Coast, where she finished with a silver medal after losing narrowly to Wales’ Lauren Price in the final.
Horton on the other hand is no stranger to Commonwealth Games glory. The La Trobe-Didasko student will be on the hunt to add to his tally of three Commonwealth Games gold medals, after experiencing the ultimate success in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay in both Glasgow (2014) and the Gold Coast (2018), as well as the 400m Freestyle in 2018.
On behalf of the University, La Trobe Sport wishes Amy, Josh, Caitlin and Mack all the best for their respective Commonwealth Games campaigns and look forward to seeing them at the top of the podium in Birmingham with shiny gold medals.
For more information on the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program, head to the La Trobe Sport website.