Griffith has a strong history of supporting up and coming elite athletes and recently renewed two key community partnerships to ensure grass roots collaborations continue.

The University has extended its naming rights partnership with Griffith University Surfers Paradise Rowing Club for another year.

Duncan Free OAM, Director of Griffith Sports College.

“Clubs and organisations have been struggling during COVID-19 but we have maintained our commitment to two clubs, being the rowing club and also the Griffith Knights Rugby Club with whom we recently re-signed as well,” Griffith Sports College Director and Olympic Gold Medallist (Rowing) Duncan Free OAM said.

“It’s wonderful that Griffith is able to continue key partnerships with these clubs.

“The rowing partnership provides a well supported pathway for school rowers that wish to continue to compete and develop in the sport.

“The learn to row program for University students is also very popular. Some end up continuing to row for various reasons including social, fitness and ambitions to race competitively.

“The Knights community sporting partnership not only provides playing opportunities for our students, but is also a key stakeholder in our womens rugby sevens team, who compete in the National Sevens University Series, made up of only ten universities nationwide.”

Fish out of water! Gavin Bellis testing his boat in the swimming pool at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus

Dual Paralympian (2012, 2016) rower Gavin Bellis is one of many rowers supported by the College through the Surfers Paradise Rowing Club partnership.

The support the College provides has also extended to research opportunities.

Bellis is working with a team from Griffith’s Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute (ADaPT) who are developing a new seat for his rowing boat, which may just provide a competitive advantage as he trains for the Paralympics.

The project gives Griffith students an incredible real-world opportunity to put their industrial designs into practice.

“For students at Griffith to be able to assist Gavin with a personalised seat for his boat will certainly give him an edge for the Tokyo Paralympics, along with a remarkable hands-on experience for our students,” Free said.

“It’s a shame that the Olympics and Paralympics were delayed by 12 months but it gives us more time to work with Gavin and Lincoln, his coach, in refining it and getting it right to give him the best chance of a good result in Tokyo.”

Stay tuned for more news shortly about this exciting project!

The Griffith Sports College currently supports around 600 athletes juggling what can be a challenging combination of study and elite sport commitments.

2021 looks set to be a big year for the Sports College, with a recent webinar for high school students looking to join the College program next year incredibly popular, attracting more than 150 registrations.