Keller Wins Bronze with Canada Women’s Rugby at 2013 Universiades in Russia

Keller Wins Bronze with Canada Women’s Rugby at 2013 Universiades in Russia
Canadian women's rugby team with their medals

Canadian women’s rugby team with their medals

Every two years, the world’s best university athletes gather in a student athlete version of the Olympics called the Universiades.  And just this last week, Laval University student and Quebec City’s very own Rouge & Or rugby player Kathleen Keller stepped onto the podium as Canada’s women’s rugby team defeated Great Britain for the bronze medal.

Aged 25, Keller began her rugby career playing on the Quebec High School field at the corner of Avenue Belvédère and Boulevard René Lévesque, before moving up through CEGEP Saint-Lawrence, Laval University’s Rouge & Or, and Canada’s national Under-20 team in 2008.

Despite having to overcome injury-related setbacks, Keller’s skills and dedication to the sport have seen her play across Canada and, ultimately, earn her a spot on the Team Canada roster for the 2013 Summer Universiades, held in Kazan, Russia.  Keller herself scored a try during the bronze medal match, which ended in a decisive 36-0 victory over the British university team.

Kathleen Keller during a Rouge & Or rugby match.

Keller with the Rouge & Or

Though the competition is restricted to university students, in practice many student athletes are among the best in the world.  6 of team Russia’s 7 starters, for instance, were also World Cup players.  Team Canada, which features the best rugby players from top universities across Canada, was not among the favourites entering the tournament, with teams like Great Britain, Russia, China, and France expected to dominate, but university sports are not without upsets.

“We didn’t know where we would place but we were going for a podium finish,” Keller explained, adding, “Italy turned out to be a strong surprise, Ukraine as well.”

Italy would go on to take silver, with home team Russia taking gold.

Despite her success, Keller remains grounded and practical in her life and studies.  “Most girls are like me. They play rugby, are students and live life.”  When asked where she’s headed next, Keller dreams big while keeping things in perspective, “In store for me is unknown.  I’d like to be invited to a national 15s training camp. But I’ve had lots of injuries… Bad timing with injuries has prevented me from doing lots so I’m going to just go with the flow and keep playing as long as I love it.”

Kathleen Keller, we wish you all the best.

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Farnell Morisset, for LifeinQuebec.com

Categories: Sports

About Author

Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset is passionate about discussing (among other things) the issues of modern social identity for many Québécois who, like him, feel deeply connected to the Québécois nation and culture yet do not identify with the traditional francophone non-practicing Catholic nationalist image. He has an engineering degree from Université Laval and is currently a law student at McGill University.

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