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Boxer Kristy Harris

25 July 2022

The 2022 Commonwealth Games begin this week: good luck to our elite-athlete students and alumni in Birmingham

The wait is over! The 2022 Commonwealth Games begin this week in Birmingham, England, from Thursday 28 July – Monday 8 August 2022 and we’ve got a team of stellar elite-athlete students and alumni competing. We are proud to report there is a large group of 15 current Deakin students attending the Games this year, who collectively will be representing four countries!

Read more about the athletes representing Australia and their respective countries below – we’ve profiled each of Deakin’s elite-athlete students and alumni, and listed their event schedules, so you can catch every moment of them going for gold! Make sure you also follow the Deakin Life blog and our social media channels throughout the Games to stay up to date with their achievements.

Current Deakin students

Abbey CaldwellAbbey Caldwell: Athletics
Bachelor of Health Sciences student Abbey is making her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham. Abbey is truly a star on the rise and has been consistently setting new personal bests throughout 2022. She’s currently ranked Australia’s eighth all-time fastest competitor in 1500m, scoring a recent PB time of 4:04:18 back in May at the USATF Distance Classic 2022 in California.

Alyssa PolitesAlyssa Polites: Cycling
Alyssa is studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science/Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) double degree at Deakin, and was the recipient of the Rising Star Award at the 2021 Deakin Sport Awards for her stunning set of road race wins throughout last year. She recently won the under-23 road race crown and we can’t wait to see what she can do at her first Commonwealth Games!

Bowen GoughBowen Gough: Swimming
Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) student Bowen recently won gold in the men’s 200m butterfly at the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships, in addition to gold and silver at the 2021 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Club Championships in the mixed 4×100 medley relay and men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay respectively. Birmingham will mark Bowen’s Commonwealth Games debut.

Emily WhiteheadEmily Whitehead: Gymnastics
Emily, a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science student, recently made her Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games in Artistic Gymnastics, finishing 44th in the All-Around competition. Prior to this, she finished second at the 2021 Australian Championships in the Uneven Bars, Floor Exercise and All-Around events and won a silver medal in the Women’s Senior All-Around category. 

Jo HartenJo Harten: Netball
Jo was awarded an MBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2020 for her services to netball and will be representing her native England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. A Graduate Certificate of Business (Sport Management) student and the current captain of Giants Netball since 2020, Jo has previously helped to win gold for England at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Jo WestonJo Weston: Netball
Master of Communication student Jo currently plays for the Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamonds at the international level. A formidable defender on the court with a string of accolades to her name, Jo received Full Blue Award honours at the 2021 Deakin Sport Awards following the Vixens’ 2020 Super Netball Grand Final victory and recently became a 2022 Quad Series Gold medallist.

Kate McDonaldKate McDonald: Gymnastics
Bachelor of Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) student Kate won her first gold medal at the 2019 Australian Classic, going on to be awarded the Rising Star Award at the 2019 Deakin Sport Awards. This year, at the 2022 Australian Nationals, she won silver in Uneven Bars and Balance Beam, also scoring fourth in the All-Around title and fifth on the floor.

Kate MoloneyKate Moloney: Netball
Kate is current co-captain of the Melbourne Vixens and is studying a Master of Business (Sport Management). She was named winner of the Sharelle McMahon Medal, awarded to the Melbourne Vixens’ Most Valuable Player, in both 2020 and 2021 before going on to win the Sportsperson of the Year – Female award in the 2020 Deakin Sport Awards.

Kristy HarrisKristy Harris: Boxing
Bachelor of Psychological Science student Kristy was recently elected an International Boxing Association (IBA) Independent Director at her fifth World Championship in May. Competing as a light flyweight, Birmingham will be Kristy’s second Commonwealth Games – she was the first-ever female boxer to represent Australia at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, where she made the quarter-finals. 

Liz WatsonLiz Watson: Netball
Current co-captain of the Melbourne Vixens and widely regarded as one of the best mid-court players in the world, Liz is currently studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and was awarded Sportsperson of the Year – Female in the 2019 Deakin Sport Awards. A 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver medallist, Liz will be going for gold in Birmingham.

Marena WhittleMarena Whittle: 3 x 3 Basketball
Currently a Juris Doctor student, Marena will be appearing at her first Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She is currently signed to the WNBL team Adelaide Lightning, having previously played for Perth Lynx where she was recognised as the Most Improved Player for 2020 season. Marena has also formerly played for Bendigo Spirit (20182019) and Townsville Fire (20172018).

Matthew RamsdenMatthew Ramsden: Athletics
Make sure you don’t miss Bachelor of Laws student Matthew on the track! Matthew has steadily accrued new personal best times throughout 202021 across a range of distances, and most recently won the national title in April 2022 for the 5000m. He was named Sportsperson of the Year – Male at the 2019 Deakin Sport Awards. 

Natalie RuleNatalie Rule: Athletics
An emerging talent in road running, Natalie recently became the all-time seventh-fastest Australian female athlete in the 5000m this year and has set new personal best times in 1500m to half-marathon distances in early 2022. Studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Deakin, this year will mark Natalie’s first appearance at a Commonwealth Games.

Shimona NelsonShimona Nelson: Netball
Making her Commonwealth Games debut in Birmingham, Shimona will be representing her country of origin, Jamaica. Shimona is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science at Deakin and has played as a key goal shooter for the Super Netball team the Collingwood Magpies since 2019, averaging an impressive 44 points per game in 2021.

Thiruben S/O Thana RajanThiruben S/O Thana Rajan: Athletics
A Bachelor of Sports Management student, Thiruben will be representing his native Singapore at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Thiruben is a star on the rise on the track, winning bronze in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games for the 4 x 400m relay. He also broke the national U18 400m record with a time of 47:91 seconds at the 2017 World Under-18 Championships.


Brooke Buschkuehl (nee Stratton)Brooke Buschkuehl (nee Stratton): Athletics
A former Bachelor of Health Sciences student, Brooke recently broke her own Australian long jump record with a result of 7.13m two weeks ago, following the then record-breaking 7.05m jump which placed her seventh at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and scored over 6.70m in four competitions in 2019, placing tenth at the World Championships. 

Henry FrayneHenry Frayne: Athletics
Bachelor of Commerce graduate Henry is just the third Australian to compete in both the long and triple jump at the Olympics, placing seventh in the long jump at the 2016 Rio Games and fourteenth in the qualifying round at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He took out his first national long jump title in 2021 with a leap of 7.97m and previously won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Johan DurstJohan Durst: Hockey
Johan, a Bachelor of Commerce graduate, will be competing in his first Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. He helped secure two consecutive Australian Hockey League titles in 2017 and 2018 for the Victorian Vikings, being named Goalkeeper of the Tournament in 2017. He made his international debut in 2018, helping Australia win the Champions Trophy in the Netherlands that year.

Rhydian CowleyRhydian Cowley: Athletics
Rhydian, who completed his Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin, has represented Australia in race-walking many times. He recently placed eighth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and eleventh in the 2022 World Race Walking Teams Championship. A new personal best of 1:20.19 in 2019 for the 20km walk elevated him to number seven Australian all-time.

Best of luck to all our elite athletes – we’re cheering you from home! The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be televised live and free exclusively on Seven and 7plus.

Some photographs by Getty Images.

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