Queen's Park fencer Bird bids for World University Games glory
PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 July 2019
Queen's Park fencer Harry Bird wants to take his opportunity and thrive at this year's World University Games.
The 21-year-old, who has just completed his second year at the University of Bristol, represented England at the Junior Commonwealth Games where he claimed gold in the individual and team foil events.
The French and Philosophy student has also won the BUCS Premier League with his university's side for the past two years.
But the World University Games marks a major step-up for Bird, keen to get an early insight in to what it could mean to compete at an Olympic Games.
"I'm looking forward to the whole experience, I've grown up watching the Olympics from such a young age and I love it," Bird said.
"The idea of being in an athletes' village and surrounded by athletes and just feeling part of a GB team.
"I've been part of a GB fencing team and that was an amazing experience but with other sports combined, it makes it an even bigger experience
"To be in an athletes' village, seeing the other sports and feeling the patriotism as well, being part of the GB squad and even just wearing all of the matching kit - it's such a professional event.
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"It can be daunting but I'm also very excited to be a part of it and I'm going to try and not let it get to me and just thrive in the atmosphere."
The Universiade is widely recognised as the second largest multi-sport Games in the world after the Olympics, with over 10,000 participants from more than 150 countries.
More than 80 athletes across nine sports will take their place in Team Great Britain in Naples, representing institutions from all across the UK.
Bird will be competing in the men's individual foil and has medal hopes but he is also looking to the future with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon.
"Ideally I will be coming away with gold, it's a strong field but I wouldn't say it is as strong as a senior World Cup for instance but I feel like I have a good chance of medalling," Bird added.
"The Olympics has to be the ultimate goal for me with 2020 looking possible and not too probable.
"But I'll definitely fight for a place and then hopefully if not Tokyo then 2024 is definitely a goal but I also just want to really establish myself as a senior fencer.
"At the moment I've just made the jump to senior fencer so I'm kind of on the fringes just trying to work my way up."
*British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. For more information visit bucs.org.uk.