Paralympian and Olympians honoured at UQ Blues Awards

Australian Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic representatives are among 34 University of Queensland student-athletes recognised for their sporting achievements at the annual UQ Blues Awards Dinner.

13 Blues - regarded as UQ’s highest sporting honour - were awarded to students for exceptional results at national or international-level competitions across the 2020 and 2021 award periods.

A further 22 Half Blues were awarded for outstanding achievements at state, underage or UniSport-sanctioned events.

Manly Sea Eagles-bound Rugby League player Ethan Bullemor received a Blue (2021) and Half Blue (2020) after representing the Brisbane Broncos in 25 games in the past two seasons.

Two-time Paralympic Swimmer Rachael Watson was awarded a Blue after winning a gold medal, and breaking a Paralympic record, in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S4 class in Tokyo.

The result saw Ms Watson defend her 50m Freestyle S4 title, won at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

The Diploma in Science student said the achievement was significant given the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Winning gold at the Tokyo Paralympics was incredible," Ms Watson said.

"Just to be there and not have the Games cancelled was a starting point, but to then win gold was just absolutely amazing.

"I didn't expect to go back-to-back, so to achieve this is a remarkable result not only for myself but for my support team as it shows the hard work they've put in to help get me there.

"Receiving a UQ Blue is a huge honour and this will become one of my most cherished awards as it is a very significant accolade and I am truly humbled."

Blues recipients also include Tokyo bronze medallist Thomas Neill (Swimming), as well as Olympians Mara Stransky-Smith (Sailing), Kiera Gazzard (Artistic Swimming) and Himeka Onoda (Rhythmic Gymnastics).

Porsche Carrera Cup driver Harri Jones was awarded the first Motorsport Blue in the event’s 109-year history.

The 22-year-old was crowned the 2020 Porsche PAYCE & Michelin Cup champion, and currently sits third overall in the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup Championship on the back of three podium finishes.

"It’s truly an honour to receive the first-ever UQ Motorsport Blue," Mr Jones said.

"To be included in a group with some of the most accomplished young athletes in the country feels surreal.

"I had a fantastic couple of years between 2018 and 2019 winning two championships back-to-back in Australian Formula 3 and Porsche Sprint Challenge.

"2020 and 2021 has obviously been interrupted, but we remain a massive chance of winning this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup title."

UQ’s 2021 Sportspeople of the Year Callum Davies (Athletics) and Natalie Grider (Australian Football) received Blues, while Rebekah Thornton and Madeleine Drew were the inaugural recipients of a Cheerleading Half Blue.

Siblings and Queensland Rugby representatives Joshua Nasser (Blue) and Isabella Nasser (Half Blue) joined their father and former Wallaby, Dr Brendan Nasser (1986 Blue), as Award recipients.

Blues recipients were also presented with a commemorative Blues Blazer at the event, held at Customs House on Friday 5 October 2021.

ABC Grandstand broadcaster Quentin Hull hosted the Awards, while iconic Australian swimming coach Laurie Lawrence was the evening’s guest speaker.

2020 UQ Blue recipients:

Josh Nasser

Rugby Union

Bachelor of Commerce

2020 UQ Half Blue recipients:

Ethan Bullemor

Rugby League

Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Claire Colwill

Hockey

Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Honours)

Madeleine Drew

Cheerleading

Bachelor of Science

Jasmine Fleming

Volleyball / Beach Volleyball

Bachelors of Science / Laws (Honours)

Georgia Powell

Swimming

Bachelor of Agricultural Science

Rebekah Thornton

Cheerleading

Bachelors of Communications / Journalism

2021 UQ Blue recipients:

Ethan Bullemor

Rugby League

Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Callum Davies

Athletics

Bachelor of Exercise & Sport Science (Honours)

Kiera Gazzard

Artistic Swimming

Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours)

Natalie Grider

Australian Football

Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences (Honours)

Harri Jones

Motorsport

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Charli Knott

Cricket

Bachelor of Advanced Business (Honours)

Thomas Neill

Swimming

Bachelor of Advanced Business (Honours)

Himeka Onoda

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Joseph Ryan

Gymnastics

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Mara Stransky-Smith

Sailing

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Rachael Watson

Swimming

Diploma in Science

Natalie Wright

Rugby Union

Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology (Honours)

2021 UQ Half Blue recipients:

Isabella Bauer

Touch Football

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Monique Brummer

Indoor Hockey

Bachelor of Architectural Design

Caitlin Bettenay

Beach Volleyball

Master of Physiotherapy Studies

Gabby Callow

Ultimate Disc

Bachelors of Engineering (Honours) / Science

Fergus Cummins

Rowing

Bachelors of Engineering (Honours) / Mathematics

Morgan Grace

Ultimate Disc

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)

Mac Grealy

Rugby Union

Bachelor of Business Management

Daniel Miller

Surf Lifesaving

Bachelors of Engineering (Honours) / Computer Science

Isabella Nasser

Rugby Sevens

Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Liam O'Brien

Athletics

Doctor of Philosophy

Jonathan Patchen

Fencing

Bachelor of Advanced Humanities (Honours)

Blake Reinbott

Orienteering

Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Grant Reinbott

Orienteering

Bachelor of Biomedical Science

Noah Rosemann

Rowing

Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Tatum Stewart

Hockey

Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours)

Shelby Thompson

Ultimate Disc

Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours)


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