Student athletes will compete in the Commonwealth Games

Going for gold… and high distinctions

3 April 2018
Advice from our students competing at the Commonwealth Games
Meet three of our Gold Coast-bound student athletes and find out how they balance the demands of training, assignments and life’s other commitments.

Think your life is busy? Try telling that to our student athletes competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast. Juggling hours of sport and study is a challenge, but there are lots of advantages an athletic regimen can bring to the student lifestyle (and that’s not including the time saved sprinting between classes).

Rohan Browning competes in the men's 100m event

Rohan Browning is in his third year of a combined Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws and one of the fastest men in Australia. He’ll compete for gold in two track events – the Men’s 100m sprint and the 4x100m relay – having posted the fastest Australian 100m qualifying time.

What made you decide to pursue your uni degree at the same time as competing?

It’s really important to me not to be one dimensional. Success in sport requires a really holistic approach, especially in the 100m, because the margin for error is so low, it becomes a real battle of the minds. You need to be at your healthiest and happiest to run your fastest, and for me, I need the brain food that study offers me.

Do you have any assignments due during the Games?

Nope, I have some wonderfully flexible tutors who have made it possible for me to focus on the games, and catch up on missed assignments once I get back. To those tutors, thank you!

In what ways has sport helped your studies?

Elite competition has taught me the most valuable skills of time management and self-sacrifice. Sport sharpens the will, which becomes pretty important when you feel like sleeping in, but have an assignment due...

Angus Armstrong clears the pole vault

Angus Armstrong is a pole vaulter who launched into the record books as the youngest winner of the 2015 Australian Championships at the age of 18. Three years later he’s pole-vaulted his way to the Gold Coast while studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physiology and Neuroscience.

How have you found studying has helped you improve as an athlete?

Ironically it quiets my mind, and stops me over analysing my performances in competition and at training. Since I enjoy my degree, it’s a fairly easy way to shift focus. This gives me a good mental break without expending as much energy as a day at the beach or a night out would.

How do you balance study and training?

I think accountability and self-discipline are really important. At the end of the day you have to own the start time of that lecture, the number of reps at training and due date of that assessment. It’s then all about meeting those self-derived targets, and just getting them done.

Anja Stridsman is ready to get in the ring

Anja Stridsman is a boxer and first-year student in the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Economics double degree. After suffering a ruptured ACL, she’s back in the ring and will be fighting for gold in the women’s lightweight division. 

Have you got any assignments due during the Games?

I don't have any major assignments due during the Games, however I have quizzes and weekly discussion boards as well as weekly readings. It's hard at times, especially now we've moved into the village but I just have to be disciplined and put time aside for myself to do the readings and tutorial questions to make sure I don't fall behind too much.

What’s your secret to balancing competing priorities, like training, matches, studying and attending class?

Find the solution that works best for you. I find that I prefer going to class and tutorials, being in the university environment, learning, being able to have discussions. So when I can, being present is a priority for me. Make sure that you sit down and do your readings properly. For me that means highlighting and taking notes, rereading passages so that I understand what's going on. And if you need a break, step away, go for a walk and come back to it.


A record 19 University of Sydney affiliated athletes will compete at this year's Commonwealth Games. Follow them when the Games kick off on Wednesday 4 April. 

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