Anderson and Kench crowned Blues of the Year

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Dual summer and winter Paralympic competitor Rae Anderson and rower Jackson Kench were named Sydney University Female and Male Blues of the Year at the annual Blues Dinner in the MacLaurin Hall on Friday night.

Anderson, a Bachelor of Arts student, represented Australia at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing where she came 7th in the Women’s Slalom Standing and 10th in the Women’s Giant Slalom Standing. Her selection for Beijing made her the 7th dual Summer and Winter Paralympian from Australia. She was also a member of the inaugural Australian Para Matildas soccer team that competed at the International Federation of CP Football Women’s World Cup.

Kench, a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Advanced Studies student, stroked the Australian Men’s Eight to a Bronze medal at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racine, Czech Republic. He was also in the NSW Men’s Eight that won the interstate regatta, the Open Eight that won the NSW Championship, the Open Men’s Pair that came first at the Australian Championships and the Open Men’s Four that came second at the same regatta, and a member of the Sydney University Eight that won the Australian Boat Race.

Anderson and Kench were among 37 athletes to receive sporting Blues and 11 volunteers to receive Golds at the dinner. The Master of Ceremonies for the night was former Australian soccer player and Sydney University alumni Andy Harper who in the course of the evening conducted an interview with Wallaroo prop and engineering graduate Bridie O’Gorman and Rae Anderson.

Guest speakers on the night were David Pacey, standing in for University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Mark Scott AO, who presented the Blues, and SUSF Chair David Mortimer AO.

“Both the Vice-Chancellor and I congratulate the UniSport Overall Champions and, in particular, the clubs and athletes who claimed a very impressive 16 national pennants in 2022,” Mr Pacey said.

“We also congratulate all of our sports teams who won their respective Club Championships this year, including the Sydney Uni women’s soccer team, the men’s Rugby Shute Shield team, the men’s basketball team, the men’s and women’s Australian Boat crews, our Aussie Rules Colts team and, just last week, out women’s tennis NSW Premier League champions.”

Mr Pacey also congratulated St Andrew’s College students on winning the inter-collegiate Rawson Cup and Rose Bowl and the Faculty of Engineering on their win in the Interfaculty sports competition.

“And, of course, congratulations to our amazing athletes who competed for Australia this year, including the 14 who competed at the Commonwealth Games, including Mackenzie Little who won silver in the javelin,” Mr Pacey said.

“Sydney University is the benchmark in Australia for university sports organisations. Thank you to David Mortimer AO, Ed Smith and the Sydney University Sport and Fitness team for all you do for our community.”

Earlier, in welcoming everyone to the evening, SUSF Chair David Mortimer thanked the University for its ongoing support on campus. “Not only over the past year, but over the past 132 years,” he said. “The University has consistently appreciated the importance of sport as a critical component of the education process and we thank the University for having the foresight to provide our students with facilities that have enabled us, through our clubs, to build a world-leading University sports organisation.”

Mr Mortimer said the bond between the University and SUSF was a great partnership. “The University supports us well and in return our clubs, supported by SUSF, play a critical and important ambassadorial role for the University.

“We do this on many levels across the great community,” he said. “Whether it be through the continual mention of ’Sydney University’ in. National and international sports broadcasts, or the thousands of people who represent the university every weekend across our 40 clubs, or the thousands of kids within the community who use our competitions, camps and learn-to programs each week – Sydney Uni Sport provides our University with a truly positive and healthy marketing and recruitment campaign that many just cannot buy. Sport plays a vital role in our education programs and, dare I say it, in our nation building.”

In keeping with tradition, the dinner concluded with renditions of Gaudeamus Igitur and The Varsity, this year performed by Madeline Greentree.