Monash University forms the world’s largest University team in the 2018 Wings for Life World Run.

The 5th edition of the Wings for Life World Run saw Monash University form the World’s Largest University Team with 215 runners registered under the Team MONASH banner.

The University’s team was also Australia’s largest team and made its presence felt at the World Run Melbourne hub where 3000 participants ran along the one of the main road arterials Monash Freeway in one of the most amazing night time community experiences.

Team MONASH also ranked 16th globally for average distance covered per team member and for the amount raised for the Wings for Life charity (AUD $13,000) which is founded with the purpose to find a cure for spinal cord injury through supporting research globally and also right here in Australia. Impressively the Wings for Life World Run globally this year had 109,000 runners take part in 203 locations, over 66 countries with over $4.6 million AUD has been raised globally so far from this year’s event.

"At heart of this campaign was the university spirit of making a difference and with over 200 Monash University students, staff and alumni participating this year the positive feedback from the runners has been extraordinary with many already looking to join the team for next year’s event," said Paul Loughran Chair of the Team MONASH Wings For Life Organising Committee and Manager Department of Marketing Monash Business School.

Notably, Team Monash runners Anna & Erica ran 44.29kms and 36.9kms respectively - placing 2nd and 4th for female runners in Australia. In addition to the runners the Team MONASH support crew were on hand to help with bus transport from campus to the start and at the event assisting with event administration.

The University campaign was a great team effort with the student leaders from the Monash Marketing Students Society (MMSS), Department of Marketing and Team MONASH all pulling together with the Red Bull Student Brand Managers in what was a very short lead time to achieve such great outcomes.

"This year we’ve played a key role within the university in creating the biggest team we can possibly create," says MMSS Committee Member David Ni.

MMSS Committee Member Daphne Saropoulou said the event was underpinned by Monash University’s belief in the importance of raising awareness among students saying "We are inspired by the quote from Sir John Monash to make this greater difference in our global communities, not just as a corporate undertaking but as our fundamental responsibility."

"In the true spirit of Monash University we are already gearing up for next year to defend our title as the world’s biggest University team and are already gearing up raise even more funds through next year’s run," said Martin Doulton Director Team MONASH.

#monashpride #bleedblue 

Nova Rover team are shooting for the stars

Nova Rover Team: Pictured back left to right. Chesten Chow, Nicky Eastaugh, Andrew Stuart, Ayden Monsant, Michael Fong, Stuart Hackett, Lauren Hanson, James Hain, Benjamin Steer Daniel Ricardo, Cindy Haung, Joel Kuperholz, Thomas Shiels Missing: Simon Clifford, Vignesh Murugan.

Four Monash University engineering students have become front-runners to win the prestigious University Rover Challenge.

Benjamin Steer, Joel Kuperholz, Ayden Monsant and Michael Fong found themselves grouped together to be one of 79 teams to design, build, code and create a robot in a Monash Competition. They won, of course. Despite humble beginnings, this would be the start of something special.

The team completely redesigned their robot for a national competition where they blitzed the competition to the standing ovation of a stunned crowd. Their secret was to “detach components once they had fulfilled their usefulness and thus save valuable time,” said Joel.

The average time taken to complete the course in the national competition was 24.5 seconds. They completed the course in just 5 seconds.

The team then turned their attention to other inventions and competitions. They entered the ‘Tikkun Olam Makeathon’, which was a 72-hour challenge to design and build a practical solution for people with disabilities.

Their task was to help a young woman in a wheelchair overcome the problem of mounting steps and curbs. The team embraced the challenge and came up with a set of magnetic ramps attached to long handles so that she could attach them to her wheelchair and use the ramps by herself. Their invention meant that she could enter stores or cross roads that would otherwise be inaccessible to her.

In a feel-good moment after the competition, the young woman fulfilled her lifetime desire to travel to Europe independently!

However, all this was the lead up to the greatest challenge the team would face, the University Rover Challenge (URC) run by the Mars Society. It is a robotics competition for university level students that challenges teams to design and build a rover that early explorers on Mars would use. The competition is held annually at the Mars Desert Research Station, outside Hanksville, Utah in the United States.

Thomas Shiels and Daniel Ricardo joined the initial team of four as they formed a committee to become the first Australian team to compete in the URC.

To say the odds were stacked against them would be an understatement; they began with only the funds in their own bank accounts. Furthermore, only a couple of Australian teams had ever applied, but none had ever passed the critical design review.

If that was not enough, the competition had expanded to include the European Rover Challenge, Canadian International Rover Challenge, and the Indian Rover Challenge. There are 95 international teams, representing some of the best and most famous universities from all over the world registered for the 2018 University Rover Challenge. 72 made the first round and 36 were selected to compete in Utah 31 May to 2 June. 

The team were up against established universities with a much larger pool of knowledge and resources.

Typically, it takes most teams two years of development to get to the point of passing the critical design review, with most first-timers told that they will not be ready or capable of competing.

Monash University threw their support behind the team, giving them a generous grant and a workspace. After recruiting several other students, the Nova Rover team was born.

The highly dedicated team worked nights, days off, semester holidays and weekends in their workshop, which included a napping area in a cupboard.

The Rover started to take shape.

While juggling full time studies and part time jobs, the team have developed and built an exceptional Mars Rover in record time that includes a 360 degree camera with a virtual reality headset. It also has a robotic arm with 6 joints for maximum movement and a drill to help discover and analyse the planet.

These 15 ambitious, dedicated and innovative students have already beaten the odds and achieved the unthinkable. The Mars Society accepted the Nova Rover team from Monash University, meaning they will be the first team from the Southern Hemisphere to compete! The Nova Rover will be flying to Utah to show the world what young Australians can do!

Don’t be fooled by their lack of experience, the young team are ranked in the top 10 and who knows maybe in shooting for the stars they might just land on Mars.

Go get ‘em!

Being a student-athlete - Matt Chau's voice

Monash students Matt Chau and Sawan Serasinghe partner for men's doubles.
From humble beginnings in the outer suburbs of Melbourne's south-east, Matt has risen up the badminton ranks to be one of Australia's premier badminton players. Not only is Matt competing at the highest level in his sport, but he is also studying at Monash University completing his Bachelor of Commerce/Engineering. Matt was kind enough to share his journey with us, including the challenges he faces juggling being an elite athlete and a student.

What has the journey been like to get you to this point?

My badminton journey to date has been a long but enjoyable experience. As a kid I would follow my parents to Monash Social Badminton Club where they would play once or twice a week and I would occasionally play with them. It was only when I was 10 years old that I followed my older brother to a badminton club (Badminton Academy of Victoria) where during my first session the coaches saw some potential in me.

From there I began my journey playing junior domestic tournaments and enjoyed my fair share of success in those competitions. I made my first Australian Under 19 team at the age of 15 where I was chosen for my Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

I became a member of the Australian Senior National Squad in 2013 when I was 18 years old. In 2016 I qualified for the Rio Olympic Games with my Men's Doubles partner Sawan Serasinghe (also a Monash student) - an achievement I could not quite believe even as I was walking into the athlete's village for the first time. Qualifying for the Rio Games took place over 12 months and was the most difficult thing I have ever done - however it is also my most memorable sporting achievement so far. The experience gained from Rio was invaluable to me as I progressed in my badminton career and has helped me improve greatly in the 18 months since.

Matt and Sawan at the Rio Olympic opening ceremony in 2016.

How are you looking for the Commonwealth Games?

We are looking well prepared for the Commonwealth Games. This event is what the last 18 months (since Rio) has been building towards and it is almost a relief that it's finally here. We know we've put in the hard work and are looking forward to putting that on display. We are looking sharp on court and feeling fit and that is how you want to be feeling a week out from a major tournament.

Aspirations and expectations for the Games?

We have set ourselves the difficult goal for the Games of winning a medal in the Men's Doubles. This is a difficult yet achievable aspiration if we are able to go about our game as usual and leave everything out on the court as we always do. The team event is also a great opportunity for Australian badminton to make a statement to the world. I will be competing in the Men's Doubles for the Team Event and will be hoping to get the job done for the team.

Matt and Sawan competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

How to do you manage juggling life, university and being a professional athlete?

Being a student-athlete is immensely straining yet hugely rewarding at the same time. As one can imagine it requires a lot of time management when balancing training and travelling for international tournaments with academics as well as working.

I have had to become good at compartmentalising the different areas of my life, something which I struggled to do in the earlier years of my degree. It is difficult to be exhausted from a hard day of training and sit down to study for an upcoming test while knowing that I have to be up early in the morning to go back to train. Similarly, it is difficult to be completely focused on court at training when I know that I have a big assignment due at the end of the day. However I have learned to be present in whatever I am doing at the time and find it is a good escape from the stresses that the other parts of my life may be causing at the time. A large part of that has been setting goals in each area of my life which allows me to focus on those smaller tasks and not get overwhelmed.

My strange relationship with being a student-athlete is that the challenges which can often make it a struggle to get out of bed in the morning (when my body is hurting or I am just feeling overwhelmed) are the same challenges which motivate me to get up in the morning. I am excited to accomplish something that day, week or month to prove to myself that I can do it and that is what drives me.

Any plans for after the Commonwealth Games?

The tournament following the Commonwealth Games is the Thomas Cup - the Men's World Team Championships - which Australia has not qualified for since 2010. I am very excited to be a part of that team and am looking forward to competing in Thailand where the event will be held in May.

A major priority for me after The Commonwealth Games will be to finish my degree (I will have 8 units left after this semester).

Monash University would like to wish Matt all the best as he competes at the Commonwealth Games, we are right behind you! #monashpride #bleedblue 

The 2018 Sporting Blues Awards Dinner

The 2018 Blues Awardees. Picture: Team Monash.
Team Monash’s night of nights.

Spanning 54 years and 1438 recipients, the Sporting Blues Awards are draped in tradition, history and esteem.

The 2018 Sports Blues Awards dinner brought the Monash University community together. From the Australian University Games to the Summer Universiade, Monash University had hundreds of students compete around Australia and the world. For that reason, The University recognises student athletes who have competed at a high standard.

On Friday the 16th of March, Monash University awarded 72 students with Sporting Blues Awards for their outstanding sporting achievements. In addition, four students were recognised for their service to Monash University and the wider sporting community.

Team Monash Director Martin Doulton with the 
Support Crew. Picture: Team Monash
When reflecting on the night Martin Doulton, Director of Team Monash, said:

"The awarding of Sports Blues is not just a great occasion for the students athletes that have competed at the highest level for the University last year, but also a great tradition for the University and its community to recognise such performances."

"This year's Sports Blues awardees now join a illustrious community of previous Sports Blues recipients who have a common bond of not just representing their University but being successful against other University students both domestically and internationally when doing so."

Monash University student Jessica Au receiving her
Blues Award. Picture: Team Monash
Monash University Student Jessica Au, is one of Monash's Elite Athletes and received a Sporting Blue for her outstanding achievements in soccer.

Jessica was filled with great pride having received her Blues Award.

"Monash University has been absolutely amazing in providing support to athletes on so many levels," said Jessica.

"I believe this dinner is an amazing opportunity to meet our fellow athletes and to make lifelong friends with individuals who understand the pressures of juggling a degree with sport."

"The strong connection that we all share with Monash and each other on our journey is a true testament to Monash’s ability to look after athletes. We feel it’s possible to manage both our education and chosen sport to the best of their ability.

"Although we all come from different disciplines and sports, we all bleed blue."

Congratulations to all awardees on their exceptional year, and here's to an even better 2018 #monashpride #bleedblue.

The full list of Blues award winners:

Georgia Griffith - Athletics

Michael Hansford - Athletics

Artha Srithar - Badminton

Athithan Selladurai – Badminton

Jiang Shan Hao - Badminton

Kenneth Choo - Badminton

Matthew Chau - Badminton

Teoh Yong Jun - Badminton

Emily Rylance - Basketball

Jacqui Trotto - Basketball

Maxine Allen - Basketball

Nicholas Laycock - Basketball

Sophie Tarabolsi - Basketball

Alexandra Byers Armstrong - Cheerleading

Alice Mika - Cheerleading

Harrison McLean - Cheerleading

Katherine Charles - Cheerleading

Katherine Abela - Cheerleading

Kaylia Tierney - Cheerleading

Kevin Nguyen - Cheerleading

Lauren Knights - Cheerleading

Matthew Williams - Cheerleading

Max Speer - Cheerleading

Rory Campbell - Cheerleading

Samuel Armstrong - Cheerleading

Valentin Taburet - Cheerleading

Vivian Nguyen - Cheerleading

Emilie Guy - Cross Country

Hiroki Kimijima - Football

Jessica Au - Football

Marianna Anthony - Football

Thomas Lakic - Football

Callum Bakken – Golf

Sean Smith – Golf

Sophie Thomson - Hockey

Stuart Callander - Hockey

Alexander Barry - Netball

Jacqueline Newton - Netball

Kelsie Rainbow - Netball

Mark James Reich - Netball

Mia Fallon - Netball

Monique Lenehan-Moustafa - Netball

Rahni Samason - Netball

Riley Richardson - Netball

Taurin Eimermacher - Netball

Taylah Fiddes - Netball

Timothy Malmo - Netball

Ashleigh Carolan - Softball

Darren Chan Ti Lunn - Squash

Nicholas Gibbs - Squash

Goh Yeou Jie - Table Tennis

Heming Hu - Table Tennis

Jens C. Grimm - Table Tennis

Michael John Zeng - Table Tennis

Ming Li - Table Tennis

Quanxu Yue - Table Tennis

Rossalean To - Table Tennis

Steven Li - Table Tennis

An Hoang - Table Tennis

Max Partos - Taekwondo

Youngeun Song - Taekwondo

Shiying Li - Tennis

Eric Mounnarath - Volleyball

Alasdair Price - Volleyball

Darcy Bolton - Volleyball

Dominic Lloyd O'Farrell - Volleyball

Ethan Lees - Volleyball

Guo Tung Tay – Volleyball

Jack Marquardt - Volleyball

Kelvin Minghao Zhu - Volleyball

Shen Jie Chee - Volleyball

William Penman - Volley

A remarkable comeback: Monash student Brodie Summers prepares for 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

Brodie celebrating a return to the snow. Picture: Brodie Summers

Whilst gearing up for the 2018 Winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang, Monash Business Specialist student Brodie Summers had his preparation take a turn for the worst.

In September 2017, Brodie was landing a routine jump when his knee gave way, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Traditionally, it takes 9-12 months to fully recover from a torn ACL, including surgery and rehab. However, Brodie had torn his ACL only 5 and a half months out from the Games, casting a cloud over his Olympic dream.

Brodie was frantically figuring out whether or not the Olympics were still within reach. “Enter the stress,” said Brodie, as the severity of his injury set in and his hard work began to unravel

The motivation to make the seemingly impossible, possible, was the hallmark of Brodie’s remarkable comeback.

“The mark of a great athlete is one that doesn’t make excuses, instead using adversity as motivation to work even harder to prove how good they are,” said Brodie.

He gave a lot of credit to his “amazing team,” who both matched his efforts and never lost faith in him. He jokingly said that he and his trainer lived in the gym at one point during the recovery process.

Brodie Hitting the gym after surgery. 
Picture: Brodie Summers.
Brodie noted 5 milestones on his road to recovery:

1. A successful reconstructive surgery.

2. “Ditching those damn crutches,” and recovering his movement.

3. The first time he got back on snow in Japan at the three-month mark post-surgery (this one was very important)

4. Trusting his knee to handle the load of landing a jump in a ski boot again – “I’m happy to report this was a success despite my being quite nervous given how close it was to surgery.”

5. Getting back into a mogul course and skiing it from top to bottom. “I only just did this for the first time about a week ago in Colorado and I have had a huge smile on my face ever since!”

All the pain and hard work paid off with Brodie’s selection in the Australian Olympic Games team, which will be his second Games.

Whilst Brodie is mindful of what his body has gone through over the last 5 months, his mentality and approach to the Olympics has not and will not change. Focusing solely on his execution and letting the judges take care of the rest.

Brodie practicing his jumps on the water before
going on the snow. Picture: Brodie Summers.
“It’s not an ‘ideal’ lead up to the Games, but I don’t really care. I plan to compete at my best regardless of what I’ve dealt with in the past few months.”

“The only expectation I put on myself for the Games is to complete runs that I’ll be happy with. I know that when I ski well I am competitive, so all I need to think about is run execution.”

However, Brodie has high expectations for a strong Australian Mogul’s team with the women’s team boasting the reigning World Champion Britt Cox and the men’s team having Matt Graham who is the current world number 3.

We at Monash University may be a little biased when we say that we hope Brodie completes the dream comeback and takes out the gold medal! 

Brodie kicks-off his campaign February 9 at 11:45am (PyeongChang time) and 1:45pm (Melbourne Time).

Monash University wishes Brodie all the best at the Winter Olympics!

We are right behind you! #monashpride 

Evonne Goolagong: moulding the next generation of Indigenous athletes

As you shield your eyes from the glare of the searing sun, you’ll see a group of 29 young Indigenous athletes shaping their future with each swing of the racquet.

Tennis great Evonne Goolagong is making it her mission to ‘positively influence’ the future of the next generation of Indigenous youth. Through her tennis program/camp and foundation, Evonne promotes better health, education and employment.

Head coach, Anzac Leidig, has been coaching with the foundation for 14 years, combining his passion for mentoring young Indigenous kids with tennis.

Anzac reflected that the kids love the week because “they get to spend a full six days with their idol Evonne,” someone they have heard so much about from their parents and grandparents.

The week also involves a lot of activities, “It’s a real growth experience for them.” Evonne organises for the kids to go to the Australian Open and not only watch world-class tennis, but also play on Rod Laver. “It’s a highlight of their year.”

“You can see that they’re all really excited when we see them. And often at the end of camp, you’ll notice that they’re all a bit teary because they’ve made so many connections. It’s a great stepping stone to positively start off the year.”

One of the kids, 12-year-old Asia said, “[the] camp means everything to me, at first I thought I may be too young and other older kids would get the spot, but it is a privilege to be here. It means I can improve my tennis and be a better person.”

However, the program extends much further than the 29 kids who are fortunate enough to spend a week away in Melbourne. Anzac explains that the foundation holds ‘come and try’ days at a grass-roots level. They go around the country promoting and encouraging Indigenous kids to come down to give tennis a go and have fun.

“We put on a free healthy lunch for them, provide tennis racquets, shirts and bottles from Evonne,” said Anzac.

“We encourage the Indigenous kids to be good role models in their communities, stay in school and eat healthy. From there we hand out some scholarships for free coaching to kids that have shown a good attitude and stayed in school, continually returning to those areas assisting the kids that have been keen to make the most of their opportunities.”

Monash University is proud to partner with the Evonne Goolagong Foundation to create this opportunity for young people to enjoy an awesome week away and with great facilities. We are right behind all the kids that have gone through the program and with several national players at the camp, we have our fingers crossed that we are helping mould Australia’s next grand-slam champion.

Daniel D'Hotman Blog 2

Today was the third day of the Last Degree as we begin our journey from 89 degrees South to the Pole. Our team of 7 has been gradually increasing mileage; we travelled 8.8 miles today (7.5 nautical miles) with temperatures around -20. A warm day in Antarctica!

The most difficult aspect of this journey from a physical standpoint is the altitude. Whilst the Polar plateau is around 3000m above sea level, a gravitational vortex at the Pole means the altitude can feel more like 4500m. What does this mean for us? Less oxygen, which in turn makes everything more difficult. To be precise, it equates to around 50-75% of the oxygen we experience at sea level. I was fortunate enough to train for this at altitude centres in Melbourne and Vancouver. But in Antarctica, the altitude is combined with temperatures reaching -40 and bitter winds of 30 knots, all together making for a gruelling day.

As we walk over the great white plane of the Poler plateau, I find myself reflecting on the inherent difficulties associated with Polar travel. Whether it be getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or even getting a drink of water, Antarctica makes everything a mighty challenge. What Barney, Kyle and Martin have gone through in travelling more than 50 days and 500 miles across this desolate landscape is truly remarkable. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my close friend Barney soon, and celebrating with him as he completes an historic feat - the first expedition to the South Pole using only renewable energy.

This expedition has also prompted me to reflect on a number of aspects of leadership, particularly from our guides. We have two guides: Devon, a rugged Canadian, and Johanna, a Norwegian who holds the record for the fastest solo trip to the South Pole (700 miles in 38 days!). Every day Devon and Johanna balance the different skills and desires of our group against overall progress to the expedition goal of reaching the Pole, which means they have to know when to push us harder and when to take a break. This is a fascinating dynamic that plays out in the harshest environment on earth, where making the wrong decision can lead to exhaustion, injury, and potential evacuation by helicopter.

Finally, we must remember that this mission does not end when we reach the South Pole. All of us have a role to play in translating Barney and the SPEC team's bravery into tangible change through the upcoming ClimateForce campaign. If you would like to help clean up 326 million tonnes of carbon, please visit for real solutions that can be implemented in your life.

All the best and talk soon.

Daniel D'Hotman

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