James Cook University’s Cairns campus is celebrating a hard-earned victory at the 17th National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games, held in Cairns over the past week.
Indigenous students from 14 Australian Universities competed, with JCU fielding three teams – one from Cairns, another from Townsville, and a combined team with members from Cairns, Townsville and Thursday Island.
After four days of competition in basketball, netball, touch football and volleyball, JCU Cairns emerged as the winners, followed by the University of Western Sydney in second place and the University of Melbourne third.
“Hosting this event has been an honour and a real pleasure,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Stephen Weller, head of the Cairns campus, told the students at the closing ceremony on Friday.
“We know how critical education and leadership are to closing the gap between the health and prospects of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.
“We have here more than two hundred Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who have spent this week in friendly but determined competition, making new friends and alliances, honing their leadership skills, cheering each other on. That’s why we’re proud to host these Games.”
Cairns education student Neerim Callope, who was voted most valuable male player of the Games, spoke at the closing ceremony at JCU’s Boathouse.
“Whether you were the star of your team, or you were the designated partier, your presence at these Games is treasured and appreciated,” he said.
“It’s a difficult concept to fathom that the first Aborigine to graduate from university did so only fifty years ago. Yet, when I look around today, I see more than two hundred students who are carrying the baton handed down by our elders.”
The National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games are held annually. JCU Cairns competed for the first time in 2011.
1st place: James Cook University, Cairns
2nd place: University of Western Sydney
3rd place: University of Melbourne
Issued September 28, 2012
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