University of Tasmania sends biggest team ever to UniSport Nationals competition

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

When 101 athletes from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) headed to the Gold Coast last week, it represented the tertiary institution’s largest team ever to compete at the UniSport Nationals on the Gold Coast (23 – 29 September).

UTAS Sport Operations Manager, Anthony Jusup, said the national games provided a positive opportunity for students to bond through sport, as well as test their athletic abilities at a highly competitive level.

And with the UTAS team arriving at the annual games as the defending champion in both squash and sailing, there is a lot at stake during the week-long competition. The UTAS team also holds the national futsal title from a separate tournament.

Student athletes will compete in one of 10 sporting categories, with the University competing in water polo, soccer, judo, and – for the first time – ultimate frisbee. The UTAS judo team includes Lisa Svenby – an architecture student on exchange from Sweden’s Malmo University. Ms Svenby is a member of the Swedish national judo team.

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What is the UniSport Nationals?

UniSport Australia is recognised by the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Olympic Committee, and the International University Sports Federation as the peak body for university sports in Australia. The organisation represents more than one million  tertiary students.

UniSport aims to foster university sports as a relevant and important part of university life, facilitate opportunities for students to participate in competitive sports, and provide leadership and national policy in university sports. The body manages and delivers regional, national and international sporting programs and competitions for more than 40 sports.

Following the games on the Gold Coast, the winners from each sport in the UniSport Nationals combine with the winners of Nationals Championships throughout the year to name one university as the Overall Nationals Champion. This year’s 2023 UniSport Nationals is being held in Kombumerri, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, and has more than 6000 participants expected to attend from universities across the nation.

Unity Day 2023

On Wednesday 27 September, UniSport celebrates Unity Day as part of the annual competition. The 2023 theme is ‘Celebrate with a Mate’ and aims to raise awareness of the importance of diversity acceptance, inclusion and understanding in the world of university sport.

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UniSport Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mark Sinderberry said. “UniSport Nationals is the perfect platform to unite our student-athletes and foster an environment of acceptance and understanding. Sport is the vehicle that unites our student population, and I would encourage all participants to celebrate the diversity of our sector, where no one is excluded based on their background, beliefs, or interests.”

UTAS team has its eyes on the prize

In 2022, 87 students from UTAS competed against 41 other universities, with the athletes finishing eighth on the overall UniGames table, after a previous best of 29th.

Mr Jusup said the team will work hard to repeat that success in this week’s games.

“This is such an exciting time for sport at the University,” he said. “We are really proud to be sending such a large and highly motivated team of athletes, with our sights set high.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]