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Fri, 3 Mar 2017

Olympic medallist set to master medicine

After winning silver at the Rio Olympic Games for rowing, a James Cook University student has another hard road ahead of him as he begins a six-year Medicine course.

Sasha Belonogoff, pictured third from front, above. Picture courtesy Rowing Australia

Alexander Belonogoff, known as Sasha, began studying medicine at JCU in 2008 but deferred after six weeks when he first made the national team for rowing. Since deferring, he moved to Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in exercise and sport science.

With the latter being completed part-time over six years, he has now signed up for another six years with medicine.

Mr Belonogoff said it was a close call to judge whether medicine or training for the Olympics would prove to be more difficult.

“An Olympic cycle is four years long, so I guess medicine is 1.5 times harder than the Olympics,” he joked.

The 26-year old said his first preference was to study medicine at JCU, followed by BBioMed at JCU, which was an easy decision.

“Since leaving JCU and medicine in 2008 to pursue other goals, I've felt like I've had unfinished business,” he said.

“Rural medicine is a profession that I'm extremely passionate about and I know that when it comes to preparing for a career in rural health, JCU is the place to be.”

Prior to his Rio silver, Mr Belonogoff won a bronze medal in the double scull at the Junior World Championships in 2008. He then went on to win two bronze medals in the quad sculls at the 2009 and 2012 U23 World Championships, just some of his achievements in a long list of many rowing accolades.

Born in Moura, Mr Belonogoff moved to Rockhampton at age 10. Since then he has lived in Townsville, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, the latter three being rowing-related relocations.

Mr Belonogoff said he was planning to look into rowing in Townsville.

“At this stage my priority is getting back in to study. However, I do look forward to getting involved with the Townsville rowing community. I'd love to get on the water in a coaching capacity and in a few months time, I might pull on the JCU suit and make a charge for uni games,” he said.

Mr Belonogoff said although he had studied in the past, this was the first time that he has felt really excited about it.

“I'm content with everything I've achieved in rowing over the last nine years and ready to begin the next chapter.”


Alexander (known as Sasha) Belonogoff  0488 210 454

JCU’s Dr Helen Anscomb, Senior Lecturer in Anatomy and First Year Coordinator, 07) 4781 6159