At 9am on Monday 8 July, the UniSport Nationals Division 2, presented by UniBank, was officially and enthusiastically opened at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre in Carrara.
From 8 to 11 of July, over 2000 student-athletes will compete in 10 different sporting events across seven venues, making friends, and building competitive and good-natured rivalries.
The Chief Operations Officer of UniSport Australia, Tony Jermyn, welcomed the students from across the country and thanked them for taking part in Nationals Div 2.
“To the huge crowd of students, volunteers and officials, thank you for coming here and for making sport a part of your university life,” he said.
Councillor Cameron Caldwell, representing on the behalf of the mayor, took to the lectern to echo Mr Jermyn’s statements.
“63% of competitors are new to UniSport events and so, if this is your first time on the Gold Coast, we would like to extend an especially warm welcome to you,” he said.
UniBank, presenting partner of UniSport for the past three years, was represented by General Manager Mike Lanzing.
Mike stressed the commitment that UniBank has for university sport and stated that UniBank was proud to help students follow a healthy lifestyle.
“Div 2 and Div 1 Nationals are part of UniBank’s ongoing commitment to university sport,” he said.
"We love the fact that the Nationals provides us with an opportunity to support students from across all 43 universities to not only excel at their chosen sports but to pursue a healthy and connected student experience on campus.”
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the awarding of the 2018 Most Outstanding Sporting Performance award, presented to Madison de Rozario, Griffith University (Bachelor of Business).
The award was presented by Deputy Chair – Director of UniSport, Katrina O’Mahony.
Madison won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and was Australia’s first women’s wheelchair event winner at the London Marathon.
Madison currently holds two world records, including the T53 800m world record.
Madison was humbled to receive this the award and gracious in her acceptance speech.
“When I found out that I had won I was a little taken aback, there are so many wonderful athletes who are balancing so much of their life right now,” she said.
“I particularly want to thank Griffith University. I would not be able to do this without you guys."
“You guys have been so flexible, and the sports college has been incredible to make this happen.”
She offered the students competing at the Nationals Div 2 her advice and wished them well.
“I know the balance is tricky and there’s so many amazing athletes who are balancing study,” she said.
Then to the student athletes in the room Madison said: “You guys are incredible. Thank you so much for this, good luck.”