With opening and closing ceremonies, medal presentations, and vibrant social functions, university sporting events are the Olympics that anyone can attend.
The bi-annual Summer Universiade is the biggest of them all, bringing together more than 9,000 student athletes and officials from 170 countries to compete. Next year it will be held in Kazan, Russia. Australian officials are busy selecting athletes based on their performance at local university sporting events.
ACU participates in a plethora of events every year – from Southern University Games, to Eastern University Games and Australia’s largest annual multi-sport event, Australian University Games. The University also takes teams to Snow Sports held in Mount Buller, and holds the internal competition ACU Games.
Exercise science student Gemma Minuz got involved in ACU sport in her very first year.
“I was the only person from my high school to come to the University so I didn’t know anyone when I started,” she said. “I thought participating in sport was a good way to go about making friends, so I went to ACU Games.
“At ACU Games, the sports teams are about having fun and meeting likeminded people, we’re not overly competitive – it’s just social and fun really.”
Now in her third year, Gemma is one of two sports convenors located at ACU’s Melbourne Campus.
“We assist with organising university games events and weekly sports, held off campus,” she said. “I played competitive sport at school, but now I play on ACU’s social basketball and netball teams.”
Campus Life Coordinator Mark Young is responsible for Sport and National Projects, and said the events are something that everyone can get involved with.
“Sports at ACU cater for all different abilities. Social sport is the focus for ACU Games – it’s a great opportunity for people to get back into sport. Regional events like Eastern
University Games, Northern University Games and Southern University Games are more competitive, usually for people with club level sport background. Australian University Games, which will be held in Adelaide at the end of September, is a sub-elite event – generally for top-tier athletes.”
Over the last few years ACU’s profile at varsity sports events has risen markedly – a particularly great achievement given that its spread of campuses around Australia prevents teams from spending significant time practising together. Since 2010, 13 ACU students have been awarded green and gold selections for excellence at Australian University Games.
“We’ve got a strong culture in our mixed and men’s touch football teams, but ACU also has some really fantastic individual sports people. We received bronze for the 4x100 men’s relay last year, one of 13 medals we’ve won at the last two Australian University Games,” said Mark.
“An integral part of study is being involved in the University community and one of the easiest ways to do this is through sport. You get to test your ability against other athletes from around the country and you can make life-long friendships.”