Alex Badaoui, a second-year biomedical science student at the University of New England, won a gold medal in taekwondo at this year’s Australian University Games.
“It’s still only just sinking in that I competed at an Australian level with good results,” Alex said.
He has been training in taekwondo for nine years, but has been competing for only a year and a half. “As most of my martial arts training involves creating muscle memory,” he said, “competing is enjoyable as it allows my brain to switch off and my instincts to take over.”
As a full-time university student, Alex (pictured here) has to balance sport and study. “I use training as a reward for completing my university work,” he said. “Because practice is critical to success in martial arts, I train for a minimum of an hour a day.”
A team of 81 students represented UNE at the Australian University Games, held at the end of September. In the team events, students from UNE participated in mixed beach volleyball, men’s hockey, women’s soccer, women’s netball, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s water polo.
Another medal winner in the individual events was the Olympic rower and SportUNE scholarship holder Sarah Cook, who won a silver medal in single scull rowing. “It was a great result, especially as she came second to the current world champion single sculler,” said David Schmude, the Executive Director of Sport UNE. “And it was a really tough day, as the wind made the water more like white water.”
Emma Gillogly, a Sports Science student at UNE, won a bronze medal in the heptathlon (after only just missing out on bronze at the 2010 Australian University Games).
“These medals are a great result for a small university, and show UNE’s commitment to sport and the support of elite athletes,” Mr Schmude said.
UNE SPORTS AWARDS
Sarah Cook (pictured here), the Beijing Olympian who is studying for a Graduate Diploma in Education at UNE, will be the special guest at UNE’s 63rd Annual Sports Awards presentation night this evening (Monday 17 October).
The Sports Awards will celebrate the sporting achievements of colleges, teams and individuals within the UNE community and recognise those who have made outstanding contributions to sport on a State, national and international level.
The event, starting with hors d’oeuvres at 6.30 pm, will be at the Bellevue Grandstand.