“Come to the Australian University Games with us as well then! We’ll look after you!”
Jimmy Wilson and Stephanie Wighton have just met, but Flinders University’s Southern University Games team captain, Jimmy, is already showing the kind of team spirit that he says makes the Flinders team special.
South Australia’s number one squash player, Stephanie, who is taking part in her first Southern University Games next month, of which Flinders is a co-host, has been talking about how she misses being part of a team – and Jimmy has the solution to her problem.
“You make a final for Flinders, and guaranteed, every time, there will be a crowd there – with bells on,” adds Jimmy. “At the last Games we cooked for each other, went out together, looked after each other. Just stick with me and you’ll be right.”
Jimmy, who is studying for a double degree in Law and Business Management and Sports and Physical Activity at Flinders, and is a Flinders ONESport and Fitness Scholarship holder, is passionate and unapologetically outspoken about his love for his team, and his university.
“I’ve been at Flinders for three years and I’ve loved seeing the team going from being a bit average, to finishing 14th out of 42 teams at last year’s Australian University Games,” he says.
“I’ve been proud to see teams like our women’s volleyball team win gold in 2014, and I’m really proud to be leading our team at the Southern University Games, and the Australian University Games later this year.”
It’s a big Games for Flinders, which is a co-host and will field its biggest team ever from 5-9 July, with almost 120 athletes competing.
That Flinders University is co-hosting the games is particularly significant for gold medal favourite Stephanie, who wouldn’t have achieved the success she has without Flinders, and who is also a FlindersOne Sport and Fitness scholarship recipient.
“I’m from Mount Gambier and had stopped playing competitive squash before I came to Flinders,” she says. “If I hadn’t come to Flinders, that would’ve been the end of it.
“Now I’m back training six days a week, so I would’ve been really sad to have missed this.”
At this year’s Games, 15 sports will be contested around Adelaide, with Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus hosting Touch Football all week and the Cross Country event on Tuesday, July 7th.
Flinders will have competitors in both events, with strong hopes for success in the Cross-Country, with several high-achieving Flinders Athletics Club members competing.
Already thinking ahead to future Flinders successes, Jimmy hopes the Games will help him build the strongest Flinders team yet for this year’s Australian University Games.
“To have Flinders co-hosting these Games is a big deal for the team, because it enhances our reputation and it gives us the chance to get more athletes involved so they can experience a Games, which makes our team even stronger for the Australian Uni Games,” says Jimmy.
Before that, however, he has one small thing that he’d like to achieve.
“My aim is for Flinders to be the top South Australian university at this year’s Southern University Games,” says Jimmy.
“There will be a lot of sore throats and lost voices invested in trying to make that happen.”
About this year’s Southern University Games
Almost 500 officials and support staff will accompany athletes, with the Southern University Games expected to generate $1 million for the South Australian economy.
The event will be sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.
The Southern University Games are owned and managed by Australian University Sport, which runs sporting programs at a regional, national and international level.