Griffith students from the Gold Coast campus are working hard these holidays for their second shot as overall champions at the 2013 Northern University Games in Brisbane.

More than 1,500 university students will descend on Brisbane from 7 to 11 July to compete in sixteen different sports over four days and against students from twelve universities across Queensland, northern New South Wales and even the South Pacific region.

The event kicks off this Sunday July 7th with an opening ceremony at Cloudland in Brisbane, that is set to dazzle competitors and guests with entertainment, a silent disco and a VIP function.

The ‘Northerns’ as our budding sports professionals call them are one of three regional unigames events held each year on the same week in July (7 to 11) and are a launch pad for aspiring competitors to make their mark on the national sports stage at the 2013 Australian University Games (AUG) on the Gold Coast in late September.

Master of physiotherapy student Tahnee Dowsett who is preparing to competes in both mixed netball and women’s touch footy, said they had been preparing for this since the beginning of the semester.

“Our team has grown from 190 in 2012 to 240 in 2013,” said Tahnee.

“We’ve got pretty much everything covered from AFL, basketball, netball, volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, lawn bowls, touch footy to rugby 7’s,”

“About 220 students from the Gold Coast staying together in Brisbane, plus competing and socialising together, it is going to be a great team building experience for us,” said Tahnee.

“We are really hoping that will give us strength and unity as a team and the competitive edge over the Brisbane and Logan team as well as the other unis.”

“We need to defend the gold we won last year as overall competition champions.”

Cameron Harrison, studies medicine at Griffith (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery) and will compete in both the soccer and touch footy teams for Griffith Gold Coast.

Cameron, who is also the current president of the Gold Coast Student Guild, admitted that whilst he likes the competition he is going to enjoy the opportunity of a study break.

“The social aspect of any Uni games is a big drawcard,” said Cameron.

“Its a great opportunity to meet and make friends with students from other universities and from all kinds of degrees, in a fun competitive environment.”

Jessica Stapleton studies business and communication at Griffith and is the current president of the Netball Club at the Gold Coast campus.

Jess, who has registered to compete in the mixed and women’s netball teams for the Gold Coast, said all of the teams have been supporting each other in preparation for the games this year.

“We have had a great start to the year as we prepared for the Northerns,” said Jess.

“Every team has been supporting each other with their competitions, events and fundraisers.”

“We have also been training once a week, so the team ethic is there and we are ready to go for gold!”

The northern games are a prelude to the Australian University Games where the Griffith teams will unite to compete against the best from across Australia on the Gold Coast from 29 September to 4 October, 2013.