University athletes find gold in Melbourne

29 March 2006

Alexandra Croak took a silver medal in synchronised diving at the Commonwealth Games.
Alexandra Croak took a silver medal in synchronised diving at the Commonwealth Games.

Sydney University’s seven Australian representatives at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne came away with six medals, including two gold and four silver.

Belinda Snell (women’s basketball) and Clinton Hill (4x400m men’s relay) won gold medals, while Alexandra Croak (synchronised diving), Prashanth Sellathurai (individual pommel horse and men’s team event), and Susan Pratley (netball) won silver medals. Wheelchair athlete Angela Ballard finished sixth in T-54 800m final and Luke Inman was a member of the Rugby Sevens team that was defeated by Fiji in the bronze medal play-off.

Snell, a silver medalist from the Athens Olympic Games, scored 10 points for the Australian Opals in their 77-39 win over New Zealand in the women’s basketball gold medal match in Melbourne. Lauren Jackson dominated the Australian scoring with 21 in the final.

After failing to make the final of the 400m, Sydney University sport scholarship-holder Clinton Hill made amends in the 4x400m relay when he teamed with John Steffensen, Chris Troode and Mark Ormrod to win gold in 3:00.93 seconds.

Competing in his first Commonwealth Games, Prashanth Sellathurai came away with two silver medals – from the men’s team event and for his individual routine on the pommel horse. Sellathurai, a Sydney University sports scholarship holder, was the highest qualifier for the individual final, but his score of 15.6 saw him finish second behind Englishman Louis Smith, who took gold with 15.775 points.

Susan Pratley, another Sydney University sports scholarship-holder, was a dominant force in the Australian netball team’s progression through to the gold medal play-off with New Zealand. In a gripping final, the Kiwis won 60-55 to relegate Australia to the silver medal. Making her debut for Australia in the first-round match against Wales, Pratley top-scored with a 25-goal haul in Australia’s 78-22 win. Two days later she scored 20 goals in Australia’s 70-27 win over Barbados in another round match. Prately came on in the last quarter of the final against New Zealand and scored two from two.

Alexandra Croak, a member of the University’s talented athlete program for 2005, became the first Australian woman to compete at consecutive Commonwealth Games in different sports when she won a berth in the diving team for the Melbourne Games. Croak competed as a gymnast at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where she won a team all-round gold and individual vault silver. She added to that tally when she teamed with 13-year-old Melissa Wu to win silver in the synchronised 10-metre platform in Melbourne.

Medical student Inman was a member of the Australian Sevens side that was defeated 24-17 in the play-off for the bronze medal.

Sydney University was also represented at the games by swimmer Carl Probert. Competing for Fiji, Probert qualified for the semi-final of the men’s 50m freestyle but missed out on a place in the final. He is coached at Sydney University Sports and Aquatic Centre by Steve Alderman.

Contact: Richard North

Phone: 02 9351 3720