Last night UNSW Sport hosted the UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Blues Awards dinner in the Council Chambers of the Chancellery. This event, distinguished by its rich tradition, gathered athletes, alumni, faculty, and supporters to recognize excellence in sportsmanship and academic achievement. 

The evening commenced with pre-dinner drinks in the chancellery foyer, setting the stage for an atmosphere filled with anticipation and reverence for the legacy of these awards. Notably, this year marked a significant departure as the Sports Awards, held in November of the previous year, were separated from the Vice-Chancellor's Blues Awards, ensuring each athlete received the recognition they deserved. The decision was well received, emphasizing the university's commitment to honoring excellence both on the field and in the academic realm.

Stephanie Brantz, our wonderful MC, welcomed everyone to the Council Chambers for the evening. Brantz welcomed Indigenous UniNationals co-captain Oliver Pike to the stage to deliver a poignant Acknowledgement of Country, underscoring the university's commitment to inclusivity and respect for Indigenous culture. Following this, Professor Attila Brungs, Vice-Chancellor & President of UNSW, gave an eloquent welcome address underscoring the significance of the occasion. Drawing from his own experience as a Blue at Oxford University for Rowing, Professor Brungs highlighted the esteemed tradition of the Blues Awards and paid homage to past winners, including luminaries such as Henry Hutchison, Jock Martell, Bruce Bland, Anthony Hughes, and Simon Poidevin.

Vice-Chancellor & President, Professor Attila Brungs, welcoming the guests to kick start the night.

The awards ceremony honoured 16 exceptional individuals (named below) who were bestowed with the coveted blues medallion and jackets, personally presented by Professor Brungs himself. Each winner took the stage for a brief Q&A session, offering insights into their journey, the successes, the failures, and aspirations for the future. Notably, many expressed gratitude towards their parents for their unwavering support for the time and money sacrifices they make every day to support their child’s sporting dreams. Arc Sport for always creating opportunities for inclusivity and allowing for some of these athletes to begin their sporting journeys with them.  The biggest thank of you of the night from all athletes was towards Helen Bryson, the dedicated coordinator of the elite athlete program at UNSW, whose commitment embodies the university's ethos of nurturing talent and fostering success. Helen has always treated these students like they were family and UNSW Sport is very grateful to have someone like this, and Hayley Bullas, to support our student athletes. 

Prior to the dinner service, attendees were treated to an insightful Q&A session featuring Olympians and UNSW alumni Henry Hutchison (Rugby 7’s) and Georgia Winkcup (3000m Steeplechase), who shared their experiences and insights into the rigors of elite-level competition. Their candid reflections on perseverance, setbacks, and resilience resonated deeply with the audience, offering a glimpse into the challenges faced by athletes on their journey to excellence. Both of them sharing hilarious stories, including their vastly different experiences for the post-Tokyo Olympics 2 week hotel COVID-19 isolation.

Olympians and UNSW Alumni, Henry Hutchsion (and Georgia Winkcup, reflecting on their experiences as student athletes.

The evening concluded with the traditional Blues toast delivered by Dr. Anthony Hughes, a Blues winner in 1982 for Football. Hughes spoke eloquently about the history and significance of the Blues, advocating for the revival of traditional customs such as the use of gold bullion for the blues jackets. Eleanor Pinkerton, representing the winners, delivered a heartfelt reply, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such a distinguished community of athletes and emphasizing the importance of university support in nurturing talent and fostering a sense of belonging.

Dr Anthony Hughes with the Blues Toast

The UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Blues Awards dinner was a celebration of excellence, camaraderie, and tradition. It showcased the university's commitment to honoring the achievements of student-athletes and providing a supportive environment for their success. It was an incredible evening and we now look forward to our Sports Awards dinner on November 8th. 


Full list of winners:
Chloe Gentle (Surf Lifesaving)
Christian Poidevin (Rugby Union)
Declan White (Cricket)
Eleanor Pinkerton (Basketball)
Ethan Jamieson (Cricket)
Felicity Chan (Swimming)
Hayley Ballesty (Water Polo)
James Tirado (Athletics)
Katherine Wang (Fencing)
Leonard King (Athletics)
Liam Webb (Athletics)
Nathan Germech (Netball)
Ryan Lee (Taekwondo)
Sophia Cibei (Athletics)
Sophie Fawns (Netball)
Tamsin Colley (Para-Athletics)