Graham Croker

Kiera Shiels, a chemical engineering-commerce student at Sydney University, has won a bronze medal with the Australian women’s basketball team at the 2009 World University Summer Games in Belgrade, Serbia.

Shiels, who plays for the Sydney Uni Flames in the Women’s National Basketball League, was a member of the Australian team that defeated the Czech Republic 88-77 in the bronze medal play-off.

The Australians had gone through their pool matches with wins over Japan (112-69), Slovakia (73-63) and Canada (80-50).

They then defeated Chinese Taipei 79-67 in the first of their second phase matches, before losing 86-72 to Russia, forcing them into a semi-final with the US which they lost 81-66.

Sydney University’s other big medal hope at the 25th Universiade, 50m butterfly world record holder Matt Jaukovic, was forced out of the Games when he contracted a virus and was quarantined.

The University’s other representatives at the Games included Guy Phillips (archery compound), Jonathon Newton (swimming), Justin Merlino (athletics 110m hurdle), Keesja Gofers and Lea Barta (women’s water polo), Kiel Briggs, Christopher Todd and Yaegan Doran (men’s volleyball), Lachlan Renshaw (athletics 800m), Lara Tamsett (athletics 10 000m), Thomas Miller and Theodore Pasialis (swimming), Ricci Cheah (archery recurve) and Thomas Rickards (diving).

Merlino finished 6th in the 110m hurdles and Renshaw finished 5th in the 800m.

The Summer Universiade is one of the world’s largest multi-sport events and is often compared to the Olympics in size and scope – athletes at previous Universiades have produced World and Olympic records. The event is held every odd year and attracts over 10,000 participants from 170 countries.

Others from Sydney University on the Australian team included Michelle Nancarrow (Team General Manager), Sancha Donald (Team General Manager – former Deputy Director SUWSA), Maya Markovic (Sport Physician -Arena Sports Clinic) and Stephen Alderman (Assistant Coach – Swimming).

The University was also represented by a number of athletes who were part of our club sport program but study elsewhere. They included Robert Maitland (water polo), Sally Potocki (women’s basketball) and Melissa Hammond and Joanne Whitehorn (women’s water polo).