I am hopeless at sport. At school I played a little rugby, not because I was good at it, but because all that was required was a sort of suicidal courage. Now in my later years, I walk, but soon I plan to take up professional sitting. Not so the case for our students who are off to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this month.
All four are part of ACU’s Elite Athletes Program, which supports students who excel in their field and wish to pursue a sporting career alongside an academic one.
There is Jarrod Geddes, who spent three weeks in Jamaica earlier this year training alongside none other than Usain Bolt. The North Sydney physiotherapy student is a rising star of the track and will compete in the 4x100m and 200m.
Annabelle Smith is queen of the diving board and already holds a bronze medal from the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She will compete in the 3m springboard and 3m synchronised diving events in Glasgow. The exercise and health science student has spent the past few weeks competing in Mexico and will attend the World Cup in Shanghai before she even reaches Scotland.
Skeet shooter Paul Adams is a third-year Bachelor of Nursing student, who has competed in several World Cup and World Championships. Glasgow will be his first Commonwealth Games, and he will be there with his grandfather, who is also his coach.
And last but not least is swimmer Jess Ashwood. The Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies student won silver in the 1500m freestyle at the 2011 Australian Championships. She also finished second in the 800m freestyle at the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships to qualify for her first Olympic Games in London. She will compete in the 400m and 800m freestyle in Glasgow.
I look forward to following the progress of our students as they compete this month and the next. Tribute should also be paid to the ACU staff who work hard to give advice, re-arrange exams, provide flexible timetables, and generally accommodate our elite athletes so they can complete their studies while excelling in their field.