News

University of Sydney Paralympians bring home gold, silver and bronze from London 2012


10 September 2012

(Clockwise from top left) Angie Ballard, Sarah Stewart, Prue Watt and Katie Hill.
(Clockwise from top left) Angie Ballard, Sarah Stewart, Prue Watt and Katie Hill.

Four University of Sydney athletes will return to Australia in seventh heaven with a combined haul of one gold, four silver and two bronze medals in their baggage from the London 2012 Paralympics.

Science student and Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Prue Watt finished highest on the podium, winning gold in the women's SB13 100m breaststroke on the final day of the Paralympic swimming competition.

Qualifying fastest for the final with an Oceania record of 1:20.36, Sydney Uni Swim Club (SUSC) member Watt lowered that mark again to clock 1:19.19 in the final and secure her maiden Paralympic gold at her second games.

"I've wanted that so much for so long," Watt told the ABC after the race. "I can't believe it at this point - I'm sure it will kick in soon.

"I'm incredibly excited by that swim. I'm just relieved I guess as well."

Watt, who finished London 2012 with two medals after winning bronze in the women's S13 50m freestyle earlier in the week, also finished fifth in the women's SM13 200m individual medley over the weekend. On the same day, fellow SUSC member Sarah Rose produced her best swim of the meet to clock a personal best time of 40.43, a new Oceania and Australian record, when finishing sixth in the women's S6 50m butterfly.

On the final weekend of athletics competition, psychology honours student and former EAP scholarship holder Angela Ballard won silver in the women's T53 400m, her third medal from the London Games after also taking silver in the 200m and bronze in the 100m. Ballard now has five medals from four Paralympics.

Meanwhile, University of Sydney athletes Sarah Stewart and Katie Hill collected silver medals after the Australian women's basketball team lost 58-44 to Germany in the gold medal decider on Friday evening London time. Stewart, an EAP scholarship holder, and Hill both represent the Sydney Uni WheelKings and Wheelchair Flames.

Philosophy PhD student Stewart had been part of the bronze-winning Gliders team at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, and the Australians had high hopes of gold after overcoming defending champions the United States in a nail-biting semi-final.

Nevertheless, Germany, the silver medallists from Beijing, were also intent on improving on 2008. After an early surge from Australia in front of a crowd of almost 13,000 people in the North Greenwich Arena, the Germans hit back to take a lead they would never surrender. The Gliders closed the gap to four points early in the final quarter but the Germans pulled away once more to secure the gold.

Although Stewart and Hill each received a medal for their efforts, the official tally records it as a single medal. While University of Sydney Paralympians collected seven physical medals, they accounted for six of Australia's total medal haul; Australia finished fifth on the overall medal table with 85 medals.


University of Sydney 2012 Paralympic medal winners:

  • Gold: Prue Watt (swimming: SB13 100m women's breaststroke)
  • Silver: Angela Ballard (athletics: T53 200m, 400m); Katie Hill, Sarah Stewart (wheelchair basketball)
  • Bronze: Angela Ballard (athletics: T53 100m); Prue Watt (swimming: S13 50m women's freestyle)

More than 30 students, alumni and other members of the University of Sydney community competed at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. In addition to our Paralympic medal haul, eight athletes won Olympic medals in London.


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Enquiries: Ben Wilson, 9351 6753, 0402 128 073, ben.wilson@sydney.edu.au

Andrew Tilley, Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, 9351 8116, a.tilley@sport.usyd.edu.au