CSU Students prepare to bring home the gold

Charles Sturt athletes win big at the Commonwealth Games

From 4–15 April 2018, Australia played host to more than 6600 athletes and officials from 70 nations and territories around the world as the Commonwealth Games hit the sunny Gold Coast.

Similar to the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games is held every four years and is an opportunity for athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations to compete on the international stage.

FUN FACT: This was the fifth time Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games – more than any country in the world.

Australia showcased a 470-strong team of athletes, competing in a range of sports from athletics and swimming, to diving, cycling and hockey.

Charles Sturt University was well represented, with several current students and alumni competing in this year’s Games.

And they made us very proud.

  • Kaarle McCulloch, Cycling (Track) – current student – GOLD
  • Kurt Fearnley OAM, Paralympics (Athletics) – alumnus – GOLD
  • Alicia Quirk, Rugby Sevens – alumna – SILVER
  • Karri McMahon, Field Hockey – current student – SILVER

FUN FACT: Australia has competed in every Commonwealth Games since 1930 – one of only six nations worldwide to do so.

Preparations for the Games

Insight caught up with Karri McMahon before the Games to discuss her preparations and how our Elite Athlete Program has supported her study and athletic journey.

What tactics do you use to balance your training and study commitments?

“I’m a very organised person – ask anyone who knows me! I have a yearly calendar that helps me map out my interstate and international trips and tournaments, as well as key dates for uni (like beginning and end of sessions, exam periods, due dates, etc.). A weekly planner is also part of my day-to-day life. I schedule in all the uni tasks that need to be completed that week, as well as all of my hockey commitments.

“I also touch base with the course coordinators at the beginning of the session to ensure that we have a good working relationship. And if I begin to struggle with balancing my commitments, the earlier I engage with them, the better.

“Basically, managing my time and being proactive are the biggest helps to me and allows me to manage my expectations of myself.”

Has Charles Sturt been supportive of your preparations for the Commonwealth Games?

“They have been great. I touched base with the topic coordinators early to let them know about my commitments in Session 1 (Commonwealth Games, World Cup and a trip to NZ). They made the materials available early so I could progress through, and not feel worried about studying while competing at a major event. They have also been really understanding of my lifestyle (like many others studying online) and are in constant contact.”

Would you recommend studying with Charles Sturt University to other elite athletes?

“Absolutely! I have been to other higher education institutions and they have been challenging and the flexibility is so superior in technological advancements to help those working or taking alternative paths. It has connected people from all walks of life with similar interests to study and provided platforms to cater for all needs.”

Supporting our athletes

We understand that everyone has a dream. And fulfilling a dream takes dedication, passion and determination.

If you excel at a particular sport, we want to lift you up – not bring you down. We want to provide you with the tools that will help you succeed in both the sporting and academic arenas. The Elite Athlete Program provides support to a range of elite athletes and support staff, so you can balance your sporting career and your study goals.

Kaarle McCulloch, 2018 Commonwealth Games competitor and current Charles Sturt student, found the uni to be understanding of her aspirations.

“Charles Sturt University helped me develop a study plan, and also recognised that my training and racing are my first priorities – which is really important because my lifespan as an athlete is relatively short compared to the rest of my ‘working’ life,” she said.

Olympic Gold Medallist, 2018 Commonwealth Games competitor and Charles Sturt alumna, Alicia Quirk, has also found the Elite Athlete Program to be supportive of her needs as a professional athlete and student.

“It’s a hard task doing two careers at once. The university helped me by altering my study pathway, providing extensions and special consideration on assessment tasks when required, enabling video conferences for oral presentations if I was overseas and encouraging me do well throughout the process,” she said.

To see if you’re eligible or if you have any questions about the program, you can contact us to discuss your study options.