The tally is in, and of the 14 athletes at the Games representing the University of Sydney, 7 came away with medals. That’s 2 Gold, 6 Silver, and 1 Bronze across 11 events in swimming, athletics, basketball, hockey, and wrestling.
Off with a leading start was swimmer William Yang, with Gold on days 1 and 2 in the 4x100m Mixed Freestyle Relay and the Men’s 4x100m Relay. He ended his campaign strong with Silver in the Men’s 4x100m Medley on the last weekend. William Yang is studying a Bachelor of Design in Architecture at the University of Sydney and an alumnus of the Elite Athlete Program. Swimmer Jenna Strauch came away with Silver in the Women’s 200m Breaststroke. Strauch came to attention in 2019 when she won the Australian 200m Women’s Breaststroke title. She recorded a personal best of 2:23.18 at the 2021 Australian Trials, which qualified her for the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed 9th overall. She had a busy program at the Birmingham Games, competing in the Women’s 50m, 100m, and 200m Breaststroke events. Strauch is an alumna of the Elite Athlete Program.
Other Silver medallists included veteran athlete Angela (Angie) Ballard in the Para Women’s 1500m T53/T54, who made her first debut at the 2006 Games in Melbourne. Ballard previously competed at six Para Games, and this was her fourth Commonwealth Games. She claimed back-to-back silver medals, having finished second at the Gold Coast Games in 2018. Ballard is a Bachelor of Science (Honours) graduate and an Elite Athlete Program alumna.
Hannah Dodd also gained Silver in the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball 3X3 as her first international medal. She has been a member of the Sydney University Flames since 2013. Before basketball, Hannah was a top-ranked Australian equestrian rider who competed in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
Greta Hayes, playing in the Hockeyroos, had us glued to our screens up until the last weekend against England in the Gold Medal match, losing a close one with 2-1 and gaining Silver in turn. Hayes is a member of Sydney University Hockey Club and an alumna of the Elite Athlete Program. Having made her debut for the Hockeyroos at the 2018 Champions Trophy in China, Greta was one of 12 debutantes in the Commonwealth Games women’s squad.
Another exciting showdown happened between Mackenzie Little and Kelsey Lee-Barber in Women’s Javelin, both part of the Australian Team, with Little leading for the first five rounds and then Lee-Barber snagging in Gold in the last second. Mackenzie threw a new personal best with 64.27m. She is currently doing a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Sydney and is a recipient of the Aleksandra Pozder Scholarship.
Wrestler Jayden Lawrence earned a Bronze Medal in the Men’s Freestyle 86kg division putting him in contention for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Birmingham marks the Sydney University Wrestling Club members’ third time representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
Three-time Commonwealth Games athletes Michelle Jenneke and Nicholas (Nick) Hough finished 7th and 5th respectively in the Men’s 110m Hurdles and the Women’s 100m Hurdles. Michelle Jenneke is a Bachelor of Engineering graduate, a member of the Sydney University Athletics Club, and an alumna of the Elite Athlete Program. Nick Hough is a Bachelor of Information Technology graduate and an alumnus of the Elite Athlete Program. Angus Armstrong finished 7th in the Men’s Pole Vault with a leap of 4.95m. Armstrong studied a Bachelor of Science while a member of the Sydney University Athletics Club.
Rohan Browning is part of the Elite Athlete Program and finished 6th in the Finals of the Men’s 110m, with his sights set on the Olympics in Paris 2024. Rohan Browning is a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws student and a current Elite Athlete Program Collins/Peasley scholarship recipient.
Debutantes, Sarah Clifton-Bligh, finished 5th in Para T33/34 100m, and cyclist Alyssa Polites came 18th in the Women’s Scratch Race. Sarah Clifton-Bligh is a Sydney University Athletics Club member and is deemed one of Australia’s rising Para-athlete stars. In 2021, Clifton-Bligh was awarded the 2021/22 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship – a joint venture between Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club NSW, supporting young para-athletes with their journey to the 2022 Birmingham Games. Dabbling in both track and field events, Clifton-Bligh has honed her focus to wheelchair racing in the T33 classification, and in 2021 was ranked number one in the world in the 100m T33 event after clocking a time under 24 seconds. Sarah will make her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham. Alyssa Polites is a member of the Sydney University Staminade Club.
Nicola Olyslagers qualified for the Finals with a clearance jump of 1.81m. However, she tore a muscle in her jumping leg and withdrew from the final leg. Nicola is a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry) graduate, a recipient of the Jack Pross (AOM) Scholarship, a member of the Sydney University Athletics Club, and an Australian record holder.
With such a strong line-up across the board, many of our athletes are already setting their sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics. The stats are in; if the University of Sydney squad competed as a country, they would have finished 18th out of 44 on the overall medal count. Overall, Australia headed the table with 174 Medals (66 Gold, 55 Silver, and 53 Bronze).