Australian representatives Hannah Buckling (water polo) and Alexander ‘Sasha’ Belonogoff (rowing) were named 2013 Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year at the annual SUSF Sports awards dinner in the University of Sydney’s Great Hall on Wednesday night.
In a year of extremely tough competition, Buckling edged out swimmer Hayley Abood (nee White), and 400m runner Annelise Rubie, who each represented Australia at the World University Games at Kazan, Russia. White came home from the Games with a bronze medal in the 200m backstroke, while Rubie, the Australian number two over 400m, came home from Kazan with a gold medal in the 4x400m relay.
Buckling, a Bachelor of Science student and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder, played for Sydney University in the National Water Polo League in the Australian season and the University of Southern California, who won the National Championships in the US season during 2013. She also represented NSW at the Australian Championships and won a silver medal with the Australian Stingers at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Buckling was also in the Australian Stingers team that competed in the US and Canada in the Holiday Cup and Canada Cup. And she represented Sydney University at the Australian University Games, where the team won a silver medal and Hannah was selected in the Green and Gold Team.
The Junior Female Water Polo Player of the Year in 2012 and bronze medallist at the Junior World Championship at Triete in 2011, Buckling is majoring in immunology with the hope of proceeding to a degree in medicine. Her sporting goals include adding to her 41 Australian caps and being a member of the Stingers at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
The Sportswoman of the Year award was presented by Andrew West, a Fellow of the Senate and University of Sydney Bachelor of Arts (Hon) graduate.
Competition for the Sportsman of the Year award was just as tight, with Belonogoff edging out swimmer Matthew Abood and sprinter Nick Hough. Abood represented Australia at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, as well as two rounds of FINA World Cup in Berlin and Eindhoven, with many top 10 finishes during 2013, while Hough ran second in the Australian 200m Championship and was selected for the Australian team for World University Games in the 100m and 200m. He was a semi-finalist in both events.
Belonogoff competed for Sydney University, NSW and Australia in 2013. At the NSW Championships, he finished second in the men’s single scull, first in men’s double scull and first in men’s coxed eight. He then competed at the first World Cup to be held in Sydney and placed third in the men’s double scull.
Continuing a bumper season, Belonogoff became the first Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) rower to win the open men’s single at the National Championships, where he also placed second in the men’s interstate single scull for NSW.
Belonogoff was selected in the Senior Australian team and raced in the men’s quad at the Lucerne World Cup, and then the men’s double scull at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Korea, where he finished eighth.
He was also an integral part of the 2013 Sydney University rowing team at the Australian University Games Rowing Championships, where he won three of Sydney University’s seven gold medals.
The Sportsman of the Year award was presented by Tony Sukkar, a University of Sydney Senate committee member.
The other sports awards presented on the night included:
Pat Sharp Award for the Female Administrator of the Year: Marjorie Spooner O’Neill – women’s rugby. Other finalists were Julie Andrews (swimming) and Michaela Ferrier (swimming).
The Rosenblum Family Trophy for the Male Club Administrator of the Year: David Jordon – velo. Other finalists were Paul New (swimming) and James Gifford (American Football).
Professional Administrator of the Year: Nathan Kosmina – soccer. Other finalists were Andrew Heil (athletics), Will Honnor (AFL) and Baden Stephenson (rugby union).
The Anne Mitchell Award for the Best Team Performance at the Australian University Games or Australian University Championships: Athletics Club. Other finalists were Boat, Women’s Rowing, Women’s Soccer and Velo.
Club of the Year: Baseball. Other finalists were Women’s AFL, American Football, Women’s Cricket and Velo.
Premier Club of the Year: Rugby Union. Other finalists were Athletics, Boat, Hockey and Swimming.
Coach of the Year: Yucel Celenk (Women’s AFL). Other finalists were Barry Hoare (Baseball), Brett Latham (Ultimate Frisbee), Andrew Ogborne (American Football) and James Walsh (Women’s Cricket).
Premier Coach of the Year: Dean Gleeson (Athletics) and Chris Malone (Rugby Union). Other finalists were Scott Barker (Hockey), Grant Stoelwinder (Swimming) and Scott Talbott (Swimming).
The Sports Awards night also provides SUSF with the chance to announce sports scholarship holders for 2014 and new scholarship donors.
There are now 367 sports scholars across a wide range of disciplines. Among them are the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships for Academic Excellence, awarded to Kathryn Rendell (Sydney Uni Flames Basketball) who is a Bachelor of Engineering/Commerce student; and Benjamin Morrell (Hockey), who is studying for a PhD in Engineering.
The Senate Scholarships for Outstanding Achievers include: Chamath Herath B.Commerce/Laws (Athletics), Miles Waring B.Economics (Hons) (Athletics), Lachlan Hodge B.Applied Science (Baseball), Matthew Donald B.Nursing (Advanced Studies) (Fencing), Emma Thomas B.Applied Science (Rowing), Scott Sydney B.Science (Advanced Mathematics) (Sailing), Mary Vlachos B.Education (Soccer), Kane Townsend B.Science (Advanced) (Table Tennis) and Georgia Clarke B.Applied Science (Water Polo).
The evening opened with a welcome from SUSF’s Executive Director, Rob Smithies, who was standing in for SUSF’s President, Bruce Ross.
“Bruce’s welcomes mostly consist of him gushing about the achievements of our clubs and athletes, so I’m more than happy to continue that tradition,” Mr Smithies said.
“The past year was a year of remarkable achievement for SUSF and its constituent clubs. For some of our clubs it was the best year in their history.
“Our rugby club celebrated its 150th anniversary by winning the Shute Shield premiership for the eighth time in the past nine years with an emphatic 51-6 victory over Eastwood.
“They also won the Club Championship, the Colts Club Championship and five of the seven NSW Rugby premierships on offer. Every team won either the minor premiership or the major premiership – no doubt the best year in their past 150.
“Our athletics club has the best year in their history – they won every senior domestic title that they competed in including the Summer Premiership, the Winter Premiership, the NSW Club Championships, the open pennant at the Treloar Shield, the medal tally at the NSW Championships, and nine out of 12 gold medals at the NSW State Relay Championships.
“And six of their athletes have just been selected for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with the potential for more athletes to join that team. The club is currently vying with the State of Queensland to determine which of them will have the most athletes on the Commonwealth Games team.
“Our hockey club had their best ever year, winning the women’s Hockey Metro League 1 grand final for the second year in a row, and our men’s team participated in the finals series for the first time in many years.
“The baseball club had the best year in their existence, taking out the NSW Club Championship and having all three teams make the grand final. Seconds and Thirds won their grand finals and Firsts finished runners-up in a breakthrough season for the club.
“Our soccer football club had a great year with the women’s side of the club enjoying finals football, particularly our all-conquering under 12s side.
“The Boat and Rowing clubs had great years including winning the overall points score at Australian University Games, and our men’s club won the coveted Oxford-Cambridge trophy for the first time since 2007.
“Our swimming program took a major step forward as the fruits of our highly successful relationship with the New South Wales Institute of Sport started to emerge. At the end of 2013 we were announced as a “Podium Performance Centre” through Swimming Australia – one of just 13 swim programs in Australia to achieve this status.
“Our American Football club won their 11th consecutive NSW Championship, our female AFL team won their first grade competition, and our velo club had their best year ever, with the announcement of their partnership with Roxsolt to enter a women’s team into the National Racing Series further underlining SUSF’s commitment to women’s sport.
“These are just some of the wonderful accolades that our clubs have been able to achieve during 2013. Even though it occurred in 2014 and therefore doesn’t form part of the 2013 awards, it would be remiss of me not to mention that our men’s cricket club won the First Grade and Second grade premierships and the club championship only 10 days ago to round out a season to remember and likely the best season in their 149 year history.”
Mr Smithies said one of the other major success stories from 2013 was the opening of the Sports & Aquatic Centre (SUSAC) extension, the biggest and most expensive infrastructure project in SUSF’s history.
“The University of Sydney and our builder, Buildcorp, together with SUSF delivered a great project and we are all proud of the facilities that so many of our clubs and athletes now call home,” he said.
“Last year at this very occasion, we launched our Finishing Touches Fund, which raised $250,000 for the Sports & Aquatic Centre extension project. I would like to publicly thank everyone who contributed to that project – that money made a significant difference to what SUSF could deliver on by way of added extras and the end result has been terrific.
“Tonight we launch our fundraising campaign for the next phase of our infrastructure development – the $10 million grandstand on No.2 Oval.
“The campaign has been called the Building on Excellence Campaign and that title captures where we are at and where we are headed to. Much has been achieved but there is much to be done. The Campaign aims to raise at least $1.25 million in philanthropic donations and naming rights over the next 15 months.”
Mr Smithies said the campaign was given a wonderful kick-start with a $20,000 donation from SUSF President Bruce Ross, which will be added to by the biggest donation to sport in the history of SUSF and the University of Sydney. “Through a combination of club funds, funds already donated to the Soccer Division of the University of Sydney Sport Foundation, and through pledges for further funds to be raised and committed to the project, the Soccer Football Club is making an overall contribution of a $500,000 to the Oval No. 2 project,” he said. “This is an incredibly generous contribution to the campaign.”
Please click here to access photos taken from the evening taken by David Stanton.