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Featured News JCU set to kick goals for athletic performance

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Mon, 31 Jan 2022

JCU set to kick goals for athletic performance

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JCU Sport and Exercise Science Honours students Lachlan Ford and Karli Ozgin with some of the equipment at the new JCU Performance Science Hub at the Hutchinson Builders Centre of Excellence.

James Cook University will usher in an exciting era for sport and exercise science in North Queensland with the launch of the JCU Performance Science Hub.

Co-located with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in the Hutchinson Builders Centre in Townsville, the Hub features state-of-the-art equipment including a physiology laboratory and performance analytics capabilities to assess athlete performance and physical capacity.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said the Hub represents a technological leap for sport and exercise science research.

“We are incredibly excited about the potential of this facility to advance athletic high performance in northern Queensland,” she said.

“The Hub will not only offer excellent opportunities for JCU staff and students to train athletes, but we hope it will attract sporting teams and other athletes from outside the region to train here in some of the most challenging climatic conditions in the country.”

Prof Harding said the facility will also enhance JCU’s strong partnerships with teams such as the Cowboys, Gold Stars, JCU Townsville Fire and Townsville Blackhawks.

“In addition to that, the Hub will support students from JCU’s Elite Athlete Program as they focus on their training and competition while balancing their studies, and encourage them to stay in the region.”

JCU Head of Sport and Exercise Science Associate Professor Fiona Barnett said she’s delighted the Hub has been launched after several years of planning in collaboration with the Cowboys.

“We visited a number of facilities to get an idea about what we should provide and JCU Elite Athlete Program Co-ordinator Wade Sinclair did a lot of research into what world-class facilities are available,” Associate Prof Barnett said.

“We took into consideration the needs of local athletes and teams while also offering opportunities for professional sports teams and elite athletes from elsewhere to train here.

“This is essentially a continuation of what we have been doing for many years at JCU with Sport and Exercise Science but we are now going to be able to do that work at a much higher level with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.”

Associate Prof Barnett said the Hub’s use of performance analytics would improve athlete performance, game management and physical capacity, while the physiology laboratory will assess how athletes and those in other physically demanding occupations, such as members of the Australian Defence Force, perform in hot environments.

“We’ve also got a blood lab where we can take various blood markings from athletes to determine their physiological capacity when their body is under stress while exercising.

“The Hub’s potential is limitless,” Associate Prof Barnett said.

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said sports science was having an increased impact on measuring and maintaining elite performance.

“To have this facility at our fingertips will only add to our capabilities as a professional rugby league club, competing at the highest level,” he said.

“Professional sport is highly analytical, with research and data becoming pivotal to the club’s day-to-day operations, so combining JCU’s Performance Science Hub with the other offerings at the Hutchinson Builders Centre will continue to allow the Cowboys to remain on the cutting edge of high performance.

“Enabling students to work alongside professional athletes also ensures North Queensland continues to produce talented university graduates across a range of disciplines that benefit the sport and wellbeing industries in the North.”

Mr Reibel said the Hutchinson Builders Centre was designed with a vision as a multi-purpose venue combining community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories.

“JCU’s Performance Science Hub adds yet another dimension to the shared facility, combining professional sport with university level research and education, to offer the best in sports performance right here in North Queensland.

“Having maintained a strong relationship for many years, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and James Cook University are now teaming up to strengthen ties and nurture elite talent in North Queensland and providing opportunities for those athletes to remain based in regional Queensland,” Mr Reibel said.

Contacts

Media enquiries: michael.serenc@jcu.edu.au