Brenden Hall
Brenden Hall
28 March 2018

Five University of Queensland students and five graduates will be vying for glory at next month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (4-15 April).

The 10 athletes have been selected to represent Australia in a range of sports including athletics, diving, gymnastics, netball, rugby sevens and swimming.

UQ Acting Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Aidan Byrne said he was proud to see many members from the UQ community competing on the world stage.

“This is an incredible milestone for these athletes who have trained hard to qualify for the Commonwealth Games,” Professor Byrne said.

“Their dedication and spirit are inspirational and I encourage the UQ community to cheer on our students and alumni as they give it their all at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.”


UQ students and graduates competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games:

Dane Bird-Smith
Event: Athletics – 20km Walk

The Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education (Honours) student won a bronze medal in the 20km Walk at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Dane, a UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient, is a four-time Australian Race Walking champion in both the Men’s 20km and 10km events.

Emilee Cherry
Event: Rugby Sevens

The Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education graduate was in the Australian team at Rio 2016, which won the first Olympic gold medal awarded in Women's Rugby Sevens. Emilee, the 2014 IRB World Sevens Player of the Year, was a member of UQ’s title-winning 2017 Aon Uni 7s Series team.

Brenden Hall
Events: Swimming – 100m Freestyle (S9), 100m Backstroke (S9)

The Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences graduate is a three-time Paralaympic gold medal winner. Gold Coast will be Brenden’s second Commonwealth Games – he claimed a bronze medal (100m Freestyle S9) at Glasgow 2014.

Caitlin Jones (née - Sargent)
Event: Athletics – 4x400m Relay

A Bachelor of Physiotherapy graduate, Caitlin helped Australia to eighth in the final of the Women’s 4x400m Relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Caitlin competed in the same event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, finishing fourth.

Maddison Keeney
Events: Diving – 3m Synchronised Springboard, 3m Springboard, 1m Springboard

The Bachelor of Science graduate won a bronze medal in the Women’s 3m Synchronised event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Maddison claimed a 1m Springboard gold medal at the 2017 World Diving Championships, and is a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist, having won both silver (1m Springboard) and bronze medals (3m Synchronised) at Glasgow 2014.

Brittany McGowan
Event: Athletics – 800m

The Bachelor of Journalism graduate is a four-time Australian Women’s 800m champion, as well as a four-time winner of the UQ Sport 1500m Classic. Gold Coast will be Brittany’s second Commonwealth Games – she was an 800m semi-finalist at Glasgow 2014.

Michael Mercieca
Events: Gymnastics (Artistic) – Team; Individual All-Around; Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse and Rings; Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar.

The Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student, and UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship holder, is the current Australian Men’s Senior All-Around champion. Michael missed Glasgow 2014 due to injury and will make his Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast.

Lakeisha Patterson
Events: Swimming – 50m Freestyle (S8), 100m Freestyle (S9)

The Bachelor of Architectural Design student is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist. Lakeisha, a recipient of both a UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship and Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship, will compete at her second Commonwealth Games after winning a bronze medal (100m Freestyle – S8) at Glasgow 2014.

Danielle Prince
Events: Gymnastics (Rhythmic) – Team; Individual All-Around; Hoop, Ball, Clubs and Ribbon

The Bachelor of Business Management student will become the first Australian female gymnast to contest three Commonwealth Games, when she competes on the Gold Coast. Danielle, a Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship recipient, represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 25th in the Women's Individual All-Around event.

Gabi Simpson
Event: Netball

The Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) student is vice-captain of the Australian Diamonds, and the current captain of the Queensland Firebirds. In 2017, the UQ Sports
Achievement Scholarship holder was awarded the Liz Ellis Diamond – Australia netball’s highest individual honour.

UQ community members competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games:

Blake Cochrane
Events: Swimming – 200m Individual Medley (SM8)

The two-time Paralympic gold medallist studied a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded a UQ Blue – The University of Queensland’s highest sporting accolade. Blake won a bronze medal at both the 2010 Delhi and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Emma Sykes
Event: Rugby Sevens

Emma is a member of the UQ Rugby Club, and represented Team UQ in the 2017 Aon Uni 7s Series. Emma made her international Sevens debut for Australia against Fiji in 2016.


Media: Jamie Mitchell, UQ Sport,, 0423 785 752; Belinda McDougall, UQ Communications,, 07 3346 7890.