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April 2, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Uni Games – Time to support the team

Next week, while many (in most of you) will be finding new ways to procrastinate instead of those pesky assignments and essays, hundreds of student athletes will be travelling off to Christchurch to compete in the University Games. I’ve said before that we are sending one of the largest teams away, and I stand by that. I regularly get updates, and I am impressed with the number and talent of our student athletes.

University Games features 28 Sports:
Aquathon
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Canoe Polo
Cross Country
Debating
Fencing
Golf
Hockey
Karate
Lawn Bowls
Mountain Biking
Netball
Rowing
Rugby League
Shooting
Soccer
Sport Climbing
Squash
Surfi ng
Table Tennis
Tennis
Touch
Ultimate
Underwater Hockey
Volleyball
Water Polo

Aquathon Badminton Basketball Beach Volleyball Canoe Polo Cross Country Debating Fencing Golf Hockey Karate Lawn Bowls Mountain Biking Netball Rowing Rugby League Shooting Soccer Sport Climbing Squash Surfing Table Tennis Tennis Touch Ultimate Underwater Hockey Volleyball Water Polo

We will be defending our titles in Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Debating, Lawn Bowls, Shooting and Table Tennis, but watch out for Soccer, Mountain Biking, Tennis and Squash. But don’t discount any of our teams and competitors: they can beat anyone on a good day.

In the 84 years that the University Shield has been contested, Victoria has been a bit of a bridesmaid: only winning the Shield 8 times (whereas Otago has won it 35 times and Auckland 13!). It would not be fair to compare us to other universities that have arrived late, like Massey, Waikato and AUT but it’s a trend that I think can finally be conquered.

It’s a challenge. Hometown advantage is a big thing. Last year we hosted it, and won. We had over 500 competitors: at home, you don’t have to travel so costs to play are cheap. In Christchurch, Lincoln, Canterbury and Otago (who don’t have to go so far) will be putting up strong teams.

Likewise AUT has quickly become a powerhouse of student sports. They won in 2005 (a surprise victory) and were very unlucky in Wellington last year. I know they will be trying to win again this year.

Nevertheless, Victoria has begun to turn around that bridesmaid tag. Firstly, because more people are coming to Victoria, despite expectations of lower domestic student numbers…a bigger pool of talent. Secondly, Team Vic: the group that helps develop our sporting clubs, allowing them to get over the hurdles to compete has now begun to pay off. And with the new relationship with The Establishment and the University, clubs and student athletes are starting to get some real benefits.

Planning for this event started at VUWSA last year, arranging transport, accommodation, fundraising and sponsorship, team hoodies and coordinating the recruitment of teams, competitors, and coordinators. As part of your annual VUWSA levy, we are able to help out an important part of student life.

A big part of organising a campaign like this is done by some dedicated people, team coordinators, who volunteer their time to help their teams out, and are dedicated and experienced athletes themselves. I acknowledge your massive work over the past few months and I thank you as President. Likewise, I want to thank the Team Manager, Brent Hayward (no relation) and his right hand man, Silas Avery (a gold medal-winning beach volleyballer himself) who head the team. Big ups to you all. Finally all those at VUWSA who have worked on this event, especially Clubs Officer Melissa Barnard. You rock!

Also, we will be having an official farewell for our competitors at The Establishment on Courtenay Place this Wednesday, starting at 7pm. Tickets for this event are selling fast, you can buy them from the teams, competitors or at VUWSA Kelburn. Proceeds from the ticket sales go to the teams and competitors fundraising for the trip. Come show your support, buy a ticket, and enjoy the specials at the bar. Thanks to The Establishment by the way for helping us hold this event, as well as the great work they have done so far this year.

There’s still the opportunity for late registrations, but spots are limited to only a few sports. Contact Brent Hayward at VUWSA Kelburn (0800 TEAM VIC) to find out more.

I’ve always said that student life isn’t just studying and so forth; it’s about realising the potential to do anything. We should commend those who choose to continue to compete at university level. So, if you know of a competitor who is going down, give them a pat on the back and say “Good luck mate!” If you are going, I’ll see you down in Christchurch. Anything you need, come see me or the team coordinators and managers.

We have over 300 student athletes, but we are a team of 22,000! GO TEAM VIC!

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