Olympic gold medallist Chloe Dalton and international badminton competitor Pit Seng Low were named 2016 women’s and men’s Sydney University Blues of the Year at the annual awards dinner in the Great Hall on Saturday night.
Dalton was awarded the Alison Hattersley Trophy for Female Blue of the Year after winning a gold medal with the Australian team in Women’s Rugby Sevens at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
A Bachelor of Applied Science student majoring in Physiotherapy, Dalton was once a budding basketball player for the Sydney Uni Flames before switching to Rugby Sevens with the Olympics in her sights.
She made her Women’s Sevens World Series debut at the 2014 Dubai Sevens tournament and was a member of the first Australian team to win the World Series title, as well as being a part of the qualifying team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Pit Seng Low, a Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise/Sports Science) and a member of the Elite Athlete Program since 2013, also had a year to remember on the badminton court, culminating with selection in the Green and Gold team at the recent Australian University Games.
In the past 12 months he won the men’s doubles and was a quarter-finalist in the singles at the New Caledonia International tournament, was a member of the runners-up team at the 2016 Oceania Men’s Team Championships where he was a quarter-finalist in the men’s singles and a semi-finalist in the men’s doubles.
He backed up that form by winning the singles and doubles and finishing runner-up in the mixed doubles at the ACT Closed Competition and won the singles at the 2016 Australian Malaysian National Badminton Championships.
The Blues and Gold awardees were garbed by Bruce Ross, who was given the honour after announcing he was stepping down as President of Sydney University Sport after 26 years at the helm.
The Executive Director of Sydney University Sport and Fitness, Rob Smithies, said Mr Ross had been a guiding light for the organisation and leaves a telling legacy.
He said Mr Ross and former SUS executive director Greg Harris had been instrumental in the establishment of the sports scholarship and elite athlete programs. “They started with one scholarship in 1991 and in 2017 there will be 400,” he said.
“When he started we had no Olympians, at Rio we had 26.
“The budget back then was a couple of million dollars. Now it is almost $14 million.
“Bruce was also instrumental in the seamless amalgamation of the men’s and women’s sporting bodies into Sydney University Sport.
“More recently, Bruce has been heavily involved in the $6 million fundraising campaign and the $40 million infrastructure spend which has included the new basketball stadium at the Darlington site and the redevelopment of No.2 Oval.”
Mr Smithies said Mr Ross will be remembered for his relationships with people and, in particular, with athletes and coaches, many of whom he has mentored, guided, been a shoulder to cry on or a source of wisdom and advice.
“Bruce’s judgement is second to none,” he said. “He reads people and situations well.”
Mr Ross was elected as the 39th President of the Sydney University Sports Union and became its longest- serving president before becoming the first President of Sydney University Sport with the amalgamation of the Sports Union and the Women’s Sports Union.
Mr Ross said the development of facilities and the introduction of first-class programs, coaches and scholarships that allow athletes to study and play had resulted in the University producing national sporting representatives at an unprecedented rate.
“It’s a process that destined to continue,” he said. “Established top-level athletes, including Olympic medallists, are choosing to come to our University to study and compete. And increasingly Sydney has become the university of choice and our clubs the club of choice for aspiring elite athletes.
“One of our great achievements has been the development of a study culture among the holders of our sporting scholarships. Their academic results are, on average, significantly better than those of the general student body here at Sydney. Considering the extraordinary time pressures imposed on serious athletes, this is a performance indicator in which we can take great pride.”
Mr Ross said it should be noted that the criteria needed to earn a Blue at Sydney University were much tougher than at many universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.
“When you represent Oxford or Cambridge in the annual boat race you qualify for a rowing Blue,” he said. “The requirements here are much tougher and that’s reflected in the small number awarded each year across a large array of sports.”
Tim Anderson – Canoe
Robert Andrews – Ultimate Frisbee
Nicola Barr – AFL
Marcus Britt – Boat
Evelyn Chronis – Soccer
Chloe Dalton – Rugby
Matthew Dowsett – Athletics
Conor Patrick Foley – American Football
Ben Hughes – Rugby
Christian Kagiassis – Rugby
Kristina Knezovic – Volleyball
Alexander Ladomatos – Ultimate Frisbee
Emma Lewis – Water Polo
Pit Seng Low – Badminton
Rohan O’Regan – Rugby
Georgia Rankin – Canoe
Courtney Shultz – Athletics
Alex Silcock – Tennis
Tavleen Singh – Athletics
Kimberly Spragg – Ultimate Frisbee
Tobias Wehr-Candler – Boat
Clare Woods – Soccer
John Boultbee – Boat
Anthony Gray – Baseball
Andrew Heil – Athletics
John Kilford – Cricket
Phil Logan – Cricket (2015)