Olympic champ flagged to open Northern Uni Games at CQUni Rockhampton

Published:08 May 2017

TOP: From left, Tony Jermyn (Australian University Sport), Mayor Margaret Strelow, VC Professor Scott Bowman and Mayor Bill Ludwig with a new design for the CQUni NUG mascot; MID: CQUni Touch team captain Jack Hughes and netball team captain Alice Maguire. BELOW: CQUni graduates Nick Such and Matt Hunter who are both working for the NUG.

Olympic and world champion cyclist Anna Meares OAM will officially welcome around 1600 student athletes to the 2017 Northern University Games, to be hosted by CQUniversity across Rockhampton and Yeppoon in early July.

Eighteen sports will be played at a range of campus, city and coast venues, making it the largest sporting event in the region for 2017.

The Northern University Games (NUG) is one of four Regional University Games held simultaneously across Australia, with a range of sports serving as the qualifying competition for the 2017 Australian University Games (24-29 September) on the Gold Coast.

The event brings significant economic benefits to the host region through sport venue hire, accommodation bookings, dining, use of public transport and visitation to tourist attractions.

Australian University Sport and Northern University Games officials this week joined local Mayors, student athletes and CQUniversity executives for a 'soft launch' of the NUG Games, scheduled for 2- 6 July.

Among the NUG officials present were Project Manager Nick Such and Event Coordinator Matt Hunter, who are both graduates of CQUniversity. In fact, Mr Such captained the CQUni team which competed at the NUG Games in Armidale in 1999.

CQUni Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the Northern University Games would provide CQUni students with some fantastic opportunities to participate as athletes, officials or volunteers.

“The Northern University Games will give CQUni students the chance for some great sporting and social outcomes," he said.

“Students will find there are potential career benefits in participating in terms of developing their graduate employability.

“Our local community will also benefit from economic, social and networking opportunities as a host city for these Games.”

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow noted that Rockhampton last hosted the NUG in 2000, when she and Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig were both in previous terms at the helm of their communities.

"As a former student here myself, internal and external, I think it is the internal campus student experience that is most critical in forming great citizens as our nation grows," Mayor Strelow said.

"It's no secret that Rockhampton's sporting grounds are the breeding grounds of fierce competitors ... it must be something in the water.

"We've seen these games generate a raft of benefits for the regions in which they are held so I'm delighted to be hosting the games in July. We know this will benefit our community greatly.

"CQUni has a well-earned reputation for being agile and looking for new opportunities and our talented university students will display good sportsmanship and rivalry as they compete throughout the week.

"Can I thank those students and members of the community who have already signed up to support this event which relies heavily on a volunteer base."

Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig said he was looking forward to joining Professor Scott Bowman and Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow in welcoming student athletes and their families, from as far away as northern New South Wales, to the Capricorn Coast and Rockhampton Region.

“This is a very significant step towards Council’s long-term vision of establishing the Capricorn Coast as one of Queensland’s premier sports tourism destinations and I want to commend the organisers for bringing the Northern University Games to sunny CQ and helping make that vision a reality,” he said.

Australian University Sport CEO Don Knapp says he is pleased to see the event held in vibrant Central Queensland cities of Rockhampton and Yeppoon.

“Regional university sporting events provide student athletes with the opportunity to pursue a dual education and sport pathway, which results in both tertiary qualifications and sport participation at all levels of sport across Australia," he says.

“Sport programs on campus are proven to contribute toward higher levels of student recruitment, retention, completion of study and employability.”

"The annual NUG event encourages highly valued traits through sport participation including good sportsmanship, interpersonal skills and promotion of health and fitness by bringing together student athletes of all strengths and abilities.

"Hosting the Northern University Games provides CQUni students with fantastic opportunities to participate as athletes, officials or volunteers whilst also representing their university."

* CQUniversity is ranked among the world’s top 2 percent of universities and has recently been recognised as one of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years of age by the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.