With judo in her genes, Maeve Coughlan was destined to become a fighting champ. Here’s how she finds the balance to keep fighting, while studying for her dream sporting career.
"I was drawn to exercise science because I love learning about how the body performs at its optimum – through nutrition, and strength and conditioning. I’m also interested in injury prevention and rehabilitation.
VU was a natural choice because of its reputation as one of the best sport universities, with great facilities and support networks for elite athletes.
My parents are Irish born and met through their judo club in Dublin. When they moved to country Victoria, they were pleased to discover their town had one of the few judo clubs in Gippsland. I’ve been practicing judo since the age of five together with my three older siblings, and three of us are still competing for Australia.
Constant travel and studying simultaneously is a challenge. Competing for Australia since I was 14 has meant schooling and judo would clash, but VU has been a great help with this as was the sporting program at my school.
As an athlete, it suits me to do my overseas competitions and training in blocks, so VU’s Block Model is a good way to get single units done while I’m in Australia. I can fully focus on sport while I’m away – and be fully focused on studies when I’m home. It works perfectly for me.
The emotional turmoil of putting everything you have into something and at times having little to show for it can be difficult; but it comes with the territory. I have an amazing support network that helps me to accept setbacks and use them as motivation.
Some of my judo highlights include National titles, placing fifth at multiple junior European cups and recently placing fifth at the 2019 Senior Asian-Pacific Championships in my first year as a senior."