Fourteen Bondies joined over 400 student competitors from 30 universities across Australia to take part in the 21st annual National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games (Indigenous Unigames) at Australian Catholic University recently.
The Games promote respect, fun and healthy activity, with the objectives being to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture; promote unity, health, fitness and well-being; demonstrate self-determination; initiate new communication networks; and reinforce identity through positive role models.
Over the four days of the Games, each mixed team competes in four core sports - basketball, netball, touch football and volleyball - plus a traditional Indigenous game.
This is the first year Bond has had enough students to field a team for the Indigenous Unigames, and they did themselves and the University proud.
They were highly competitive across all four sports, narrowly missing out on reaching the finals in all events and finishing in the top 10 Universities overall.
Team Captain, Mikayla Hudson said the Games were an amazing experience for the whole team, and they were already starting to prepare for next year!
“Considering this was our first year competing, we were quite happy with the results,” she said.
“The best part for me was getting to know my Bond teammates on a more personal level, as well as meeting and becoming friends with many other Indigenous students from universities across Australia.
“Leading up to the games, we had a lot of support from the entire Bond community: other students and staff, the Nyombil Centre, Bond Sport and the University’s Touch, Volleyball, Netball and Basketball teams who all pitched in and helped train us.
“Next year the Games will be in held in Geelong, and even though it’s 12 months off, our team is so excited we’ve already begun preparation and training to hopefully bring home the Cup!”
Representing Team Bond at the Unigames were Mikayla Hudson, Justyce Pengilly, Shania Eddy, Makayla Palm, Peta Duncan, Nicholas Oui, Codie Collins, Dylan Mathers, Kyah Burke, Sally Treveton, Jordan Kilcoyne, Jacob Borkovic, Liam Longbottom and Makaela Maloney-Connolly.
Bond’s Nyombil Centre manager Jason Murray said the event was a great opportunity for Bond and its Indigenous students.
“It puts Bond on the map as a viable option for Indigenous people to study, and it’s great for our students too as it brings them together to plan, train and then compete as a team,” he said.
Bond has its highest number of Indigenous students this semester with 64 students enrolled. The University has a 96 per cent Indigenous student retention rate for undergraduates, well above the national average of 71 per cent and the national non-Indigenous student retention rate of 80.8 per cent.
The Games began in 1996 as a joint class project between thirteen students enrolled in a Diploma of Aboriginal Studies (Community Recreation) at the then Wollotuka School for Aboriginal Studies, the University of Newcastle. The first Games were attended by around 30 students and have since grown to host hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students from Universities all around Australia.