UQ 'Boyd' by Commonwealth Games alumni

4 Aug 2014

When the Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games comes to a close on 23 July, UQ will have 16 past and present student striving for glory, including two siblings who have gold running through their veins.

Brother and sister Matt and Alana Boyd will be competing in the pole vault events as part of the Athletics program at the famous Hampden Park, and will be cheered from the stands by a family who possess a serious athletic pedigree.

In 2008 Alana became the first Australian to join both parents as Olympians, and then went on to win gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Their father, Ray, was part of the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympic team and their mother, Denise, made both the Moscow and Montreal Olympic teams.

The pair’s sister, Jacinta, qualified for the 2002 and 2004 world junior championships teams in long jump and was set to compete in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games but had to pull out due to a broken foot.

Alana said it is special to have her brother competing on the same team.

“It's so exciting to have Matt in the team this year.

“He has worked so hard and has had his fair share of tough times but he has persevered to make his first senior team. To be wearing the green and gold together will be pretty special.

“Having our parents and sister at the Games to support us will also be great.”

Matt said he was ecstatic when he found out that he had been named to the team alongside Alana.

“To be selected in the team is definitely a dream come true. For as long as I remember it has been a goal to represent Australia in athletics, so I'm very excited to compete,” he said.

“To wear the green and gold in Glasgow and follow in Mum, Dad and Alana's footstep will be very special, albeit very big shoes to fill with all of them having been previous gold medallists!

“Having Alana in the team and the rest of our family and friends in the stands will be a great support, especially being my first team.”

This athletic family also has a very strong UQ connection, with all three children being UQ alumni. Their mother Denise commenced a Bachelor of Human Movement at UQ in the 70s, but completed her degree in Melbourne after the family moved interstate.

Both Alana and Matt have fond memories of their time as students at UQ.

“One of my favourite memories of UQ involve the UQ Athletics Club and all the great times and life-long friends made attending training, competitions and the annual Uni Games,” she said.

“I also loved the huge campus at St Lucia. It had a really great vibe.”

Matt said his experiences at St Lucia were similar to Alana’s, although he does admit to a healthy social life.

“Much the same as Alana, my favourite memory of UQ is the UQ Athletics Club and annual Australian Uni Games,” he said.

“We have made a lot of life-long friends through the club and these teams in particular. I still train at the UQ track once a week, and it’s always good to catch up with the familiar faces.

“The Great Court Race, even though I never competed, is a great event and lasting memory. The setting and concept is very unique and not one that many universities in Australia can replicate.

“In between the sport and study, I've still got some great memories of the 'The Red Room' during my life of a uni student!”

In addition to the alumni and students who will be competing in Glasgow, UQ will also be cheering one of their own staff.

UQ Advantage Office Director Dr Annabelle Willox will umpire in the women’s hockey matches at the Games as part of the Welsh team.

It will be her second Commonwealth Games stint as she umpired at the Delhi Games in 2010.