Major boost for elite sportspeople on campus

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A generous gift to fund a world-class, high performance gymnasium at Sydney University will benefit more than 400 elite athletes who train at the University’s facilities each year.

The gift for the gym, to be housed in the new Grandstand Project at No.2 Oval in the middle of the main campus, has been made by David Mortimer, president of the Sydney University Football Club (SUFC).

While the gym will benefit SUFC’s elite athlete development program, it will also be available to the many other elite athletes on campus.

“This gift is transformational,” said Robert Smithies, Executive Director of Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness. “It will turn a wish into a reality and the benefits will flow for many years to come.

“The gym will be the first of its kind in Australia and will set the University of Sydney further apart from elite programs at other Australian universities and rugby clubs in Sydney.”

Mr Smithies said the high performance gym will give Sydney University athletes and elite sporting teams access to state-of-the-art training equipment to enhance their training and skill development.

Features will include free weights and pin-loaded machines, cardio equipment, lifting platforms and ancillary fitness equipment.

“Scholarship holders and elite athletes will be able to train in a specialised gym of their own,” Mr Smithies said. “They will have access to more training session times and flexibility as they juggle their study schedules. The quality of training will improve through better equipment and increased options for functional training and sport-specific regimes. The current University facilities will be freed up for other student uses.”

Mr Mortimer has been associated with Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness since his appointment as the SUFC President in 2000. During his term in office SUFC has won 12 Club Championships, 11 Colts Club Championships and nine First Grade Shute Shield premierships, while producing a steady stream of representative players.

SUFC is represented at the Rugby World Cup by Wallabies Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Nick Phipps, Ben McCalman, Dean Mumm and Will Skelton.

Mr Smithies said Mr David had been very reticent about having his generosity publicised but was eventually convinced that doing so would be likely to have an “announcement effect” encouraging others to follow his example.

“The naming rights attached to this gift will include the double level high performance gym and the Southern open air deck area of the new grandstand, both of which will be named after David and will form part of his incredible legacy to the sport of rugby at the University of Sydney,” he said.

“His gift will enable the development of world’s best practice sporting infrastructure which gives our athletes a chance to more fully achieve their potential on the world stage.”

With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of the INSPIRED campaign, which aims to raise $600 million by 2017.