The University of Sydney (USYD) have dominated their rivals with an impressive athletic performance at this week’s UniSport Nationals Athletics championships, topping both the men’s and women’s point score to secure their first two Div 1 pennants of 2022.
From 19-21 April, nearly 400 students representing 38 Australian universities took to the Gold Coast, Queensland to compete in the track and field event. USYD, which boasts a long history of achievement in the sport, were represented by a team of 46 student-athletes, the largest cohort of all competing institutions.
Local universities, Griffith University (GU) and Queensland University of Technology fell just short of the top honours, taking out second place in the women’s and men’s point scores respectively; with Macquarie University (women) and University of Technology Sydney (men) rounding out the team score podium.
UniSport CEO, Mark Sinderberry was delighted to see so many student-athletes competing in the event. “To have nearly 400 students travel to the Gold Coast to take part in the championships is very encouraging. This has been the largest athletics competition since 2017 and continues to confirm a strong interest for the return of sporting events amongst the university community,” said Mark.
“We hope every athlete is proud of their performances, had the opportunity to make new connections and most importantly, enjoyed themselves throughout the experience,” he added.
Prior to the start of the championships, the combined events were conducted as part of the Australian Track and Field Championships in Sydney. Alec Diamond (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science) of Australian Catholic University and GU student Taneille Crase (Bachelor of Education) posted impressive scores of 8002 and 5759 points respectively in the decathlon and hepathlon events, both setting new UniSport records surpassing the previous benchmarks set in 1974.
Records continued to fall on the first night of competition on the Gold Coast. Raphaela Corney of University of Tasmania (Bachelor of Medical Research) reached a height of 3.95m to set a new women’s pole vault record. Elsewhere in the field, GU student Emelia Surch (Bachelor of Nursing), competing in her first UniSport Nationals, added four centimetres to the women’s long jump record, reaching a length of 6.18m.
On the track, Curtin University’s Olga Firsova (Bachelor of Education) blitzed the women’s 10000m record by more than 16 seconds. Firsova, who recently claimed a bronze medal at the UniSport Nationals Triathlon championships last month, went on to also claim gold in the women’s 5000m event on Thursday.
University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) mixed 4x400m relay team (Luke Boyes, Kate Wahby, Rowena Craker and Matthew Crowe) edged out a quick field to beat their own record set in last year’s championships with a time of 3:35.05.
Day two of the championships was highlighted by RMIT University’s Joel Baden (Bachelor of Information Technology) equalling his own men’s high jump record with a clearance of 2.26m. Baden first set the record in 2015 when he was then competing for The University of Melbourne. The final record of the championships was set on day three by Emmanuel Fakiye of UTS (Honours Diploma in Engineering Practice). On his third attempt, Fakiye added three centimetres to the 39 year-old men’s triple jump record (16.05m) in his seventh UniSport Nationals meet.
The championships also welcomed 10 para-athletes competing for their universities. University of Sunshine Coast’s Blake Anderson T37 (Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering) and Daniel Bounty T38 (Bachelor of Education / Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies) both posted impressive performances in the men’s 800m and 1500m events, each winning themselves dual medals and valuable points for the team. Meanwhile, Madelene McNeil T13 (Bachelor of Letters, Sports Performance Coaching) of Flinders University earned herself three silver and one bronze medals in her four track events.
The final results can be viewed at unisport.com.au/athletics-div1. UniSport wishes to congratulate all student-athletes that competed and thank Athletics Australia for their support in delivering the meet.
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National Events Manager - Sport
About UniSport Australia
UniSport Australia (UniSport) is the peak body for university sport in Australia. 43 universities are members of UniSport, representing a population of over one million students. UniSport’s ambition is to become an integral partner to Australian universities and to deliver an outstanding student experience at our national intervarsity competitions.
More information: www.unisport.com.au