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QUT-QRU partnership a career lift for students

He’s competed with some of the best weightlifters in the world at the Tokyo Olympics – and now QUT health student Matthew Lydement is learning how to train some of the best rugby players, thanks to a real-world work placement with the Queensland Reds.

The Olympian and final-year Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science student is half-way through a 12-month placement with Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) as part of his studies with the QUT School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in the Faculty of Health.

QUT and QRU this week launched a new three-year partnership which has seen the university become the Reds’ official education partner.

It’s a two-way relationship that is enabling work-integrated learning opportunities for QUT students like Matthew at the Reds’ Ballymore headquarters, near Kelvin Grove campus, and providing potential education pathways for QRU players.

“I’ve worked in the fitness industry as a trainer for eight years and working with a professional team like the Reds is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Matthew said.

“I started my placement in November at the start of the players’ pre-season and will see the entire season through.

“Initially QRU were looking for someone to work in sports analytics, but after they interviewed me they offered me a role in strength and conditioning because of my own experience in that area.

“I’m getting to do some hands-on coaching with the players in weightlifting, as well as the field side of things and learning about rehab and recovery from injuries and trying to better myself in those areas too.”

Injuries are, sadly, a part of life for many elite athletes, and Matthew is no exception.

He excelled in many sports as a teenager but, after enduring several injuries playing cricket, rugby union and Australian Rules, he decided to take up weightlifting in 2014, aged 20.

With the guidance of long-time coach and two-time Olympian Damon Kelly, he went on to achievements including a fourth place finish at the 2019 Pacific Games in the men’s 109kg event, where he registered a 156kg snatch lift (the second-best snatch of the whole competition).

He also won a silver medal at the 2020 Australian Open, where he recorded a 161kg snatch and 182kg in the clean and jerk. And in July 2022 he set a national record and unofficial Oceania record with a 162kg snatch.

To read more about Matthew's placement and the QUT-QRU partnership continue here.

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