Waikato athletes in Birmingham

27 July 2022

Callum Saunders
Track cyclist Callum Saunders is one of 14 University of Waikato alumni and students at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Thirteen University of Waikato students and alumni will be competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom, which starts on Thursday.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games run from July 28 to August 8, and the University is proud of the four students and nine alumni who will take part in the Games this year.

Current students include elite track cyclists Ellesse Andrews and Bryony Botha, squash player Temwa Chileshe and hockey player Aidan Sarikaya. Track cyclist Ally Wollaston was also scheduled to compete, but subsequently had to withdrawn due to injury.

Among our alumni are elite track cyclists Sam Dakin, Olivia King and Callum Saunders, rugby sevens player Stacey Fluhler, swimmer Helena Gasson, netball player Kelly Jury, beach volleyball athlete Shaunna Polley and hockey players Megan Hull and Alia Jaques.

University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Alister Jones says the University is “immensely proud” of all of the Waikato students and alumni competing in these Commonwealth Games.

“Congratulations to everyone competing in the Games. It’s been a tough few years for many of these athletes, and they can feel a real sense of achievement to be selected to represent New Zealand on the international stage in their sport,” says Professor Jones.

“We will be cheering on our Waikato athletes, both current students and alumni, who have worked very hard to get to the Commonwealth Games. The University of Waikato proudly supports them all, and applauds their commitment and talent.”

Many of the athletes have been supported in their studies at Waikato through the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme. The programme supports school leavers who demonstrate excellence in a sport or performing arts, and display strong leadership qualities and high academic achievement.

High Performance Student Scholarship Manager for the University of Waikato, Greg O’Carroll, who has worked closely with many high performing athlete students over the years, says he and his colleagues at Waikato will be following the Games closely.

“It's wonderful to see our student athletes and alumni challenging themselves in international competition, even more so these days due to the global impact of the pandemic,” says Greg.

He says that balancing training, competition and study takes sacrifice and dedication.

“Balancing study and high performance sport is not easy, and as a university we are proud to support them.”

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will see around 4500 athletes from 72 nations compete across 283 events. You can follow our Waikato student and alumni athletes via major news outlets, or via the official event website here.

Our athletes:

  • Ellesse Andrews. Event: Cycling – Women's Track: Team Sprint, Indiv Sprint, 500m Time Trial, Keirin
  • Bryony Botha. Event: Cycling – Women's Track/Road: 3000m Indiv Pursuit,Team Pursuit, 25km Points Race, 10km Scratch, Race Race
  • Ally Wollaston. Event: Cycling – Women's Track/Road: Team Pursuit, 25km Points Race, 10km Scratch, Road Race [note: Ally was forced to withdraw due to injury]
  • Temwa Chileshe. Event: Squash: Men's Singles, Men's Doubles
  • Aidan Sarikaya. Event: Men's Hockey
  • Sam Dakin. Event: Cycling – Men's Track: Team Sprint, Indiv Sprint, Keirin
  • Olivia King. Event: Cycling – Women's Track: Team Sprint, Indiv Sprint, 500m Time Trial, Keirin
  • Callum Saunders. Event: Cycling – Men's Track: Team Sprint, Indiv Sprint, Keirin
  • Stacey Fluhler. Event: Women's Rugby 7's
  • Helena Gasson. Event: Women's 200M Individual Medley, Women's 200m, 100m, 50m Fly and Women's 50m Backstroke
  • Kelly Jury. Event: Netball
  • Shaunna Polley. Event: Beach Volleyball - Women
  • Megan Hull. Event: Hockey – Women
  • Alia Jaques. Event: Hockey – Women

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