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Jean's 'oarsome' graduation

Kayaker Jean van der Westhuyzen has graduated from Bond University and is now looking forward to the Olympics. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn

Olympics-bound kayaker Jean van der Westhuyzen this month swapped his Australian uniform for a graduation gown and mortarboard.

The Bond University student graduated with a Bachelor of Business and has already turned his full attention to the Tokyo Olympics.

Van der Westhuyzen was one of the last Australian athletes picked for the Olympics before Covid-19 postponed the 2020 Games.

The switch to 2021 has helped the South African-born Australian graduate well ahead of schedule.

“My graduation would have looked quite different had the Olympics gone ahead as planned,” van der Westhuyzen said.

“I would have still been studying and had two more semesters to go. I guess there have been some positives to come out of Corona.

“I couldn’t have picked a better university as far as balancing my academic interests with my sporting commitments.

“It has been tough at times but it has definitely built a better character and helped my management skills.

“The support from Bond has been awesome and it has taken my sport to the next level.”

The 22-year-old trains on the water at Varsity Lakes 10 times a week. He also does three gym sessions, two recovery sessions and one altitude session.

It’s a hectic schedule, one aimed at getting him perfectly prepared for the Olympics.

“It’s great to get the gown and the cap and now I can continue working hard towards Tokyo,” he said.

“I’m going to leave everything out there and I’ll be ready to race come Games time.

“Training has been hard, but it’s been tough not being able to race domestically or internationally.

“During COVID you think why you love kayaking and why I do it - I absolutely love it and have a passion for it.

“I’m proud to be graduating from Bond, there is a sense of relief that I’ve achieved this and finished the course.

“Really looking forward to the next chapter, and super grateful to Bond for everything they’ve done to help me.”

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