Graham Croker


Despite a golden Friday, when teams events reached their finale, Sydney University finished third on the overall pointscore at the 2010 Australian University Games held in Perth during the mid-semester break.


The University of Western Australia, who hosted the Games, won the overall pointscore when competition finished on Friday.


With over 5000 students from 38 universities across Australia competing in 30 sports over six days, UWA finished with 709 points to edge out Monash University (638.5) and the University of Sydney (567).


While the host university is guaranteed maximum entrants in all sports, travelling universities are disadvantaged in the overall pointscore by having to win entry for various sports through the Eastern University Games and then having to fund big teams (200-300-plus athletes and support staff) to attend the Games.


The Doug Ellis Trophy, based on student numbers, was won by the University of Notre Dame, with Edith Cowan University finishing second and UWA third. The John White Spirit of the Games Award went to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.


Having dominated the athletics and swimming to win team golds during the week, Sydney University made a valiant attempt to grab the overall pointscore with a big finish on Friday, when they won gold in the overall rowing pointscore as well as men’s and women’s rowing, men’s team fencing, men’s badminton, baseball, women’s basketball, women’s water polo, volleyball, rugby sevens, men’s tennis and women’s tennis.


Sydney University also won silver medals in fencing (men’s epee), women’s hockey, men’s hockey, women’s soccer, men’s water polo and ultimate Frisbee, and bronze medals in men’s soccer and women’s touch football. But as the team didn’t contest all 30 sports, their overall pointscore suffered.


While Sydney University athletes produced many fine performance at the rowing regatta, at the swimming pool and on the athletics track, where the university dominated team pointscores, the individual highlights came from distance runners James Nipperess and Lara Tamsett, who smashed the 5000m men’s and women’s records in claiming gold medals.


 Nipperess’s time of 14min 3sec broke the long-held record of 14min 8sec, which was set in 1973. The 20-year-old physical education student and Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder, is trained by Ken Green, Australia’s head coach for long-distance running.


 Tamsett started a golden day at the track for Sydney University by demolishing her previous Games record for 5000m – set in 2008 – by 14 seconds.


 Her time of 16min 5sec scattered the field, with Ellis O’Kane finishing second, more than a minute behind, and Sophie Barker claiming third, more that two minutes behind.


The Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder earlier this year led from start to finish in winning the City to Surf in Sydney.