We are proud of our Victoria University (VU) students and alumni who will be competing at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gets underway 23 July and runs until 8 August 2021, followed by the Paralympics taking place from 24 August to 5 September 2021.

VU Tokyo Olympians & Paralympians

Get to know and support the nine current and past Victoria University student-athletes set to represent their country in:

  • artistic swimming
  • athletics
  • badminton
  • judo
  • para-athletics
  • shooting
  • para-table tennis
  • track cycling.

Check out each of the athlete’s sport and education profiles below.

Sport: Athletics

Event: Marathon

University course:

Highlights

  • 2018 and 2014 Commonwealth Games
  • 2016 Olympic Games, Rio
  • 2011 inaugural Outstanding Student Alumni Award
  • 2008 and 2010 World University Cross Country Running Championships silver medal
  • 2008 and 2010 Australian University Sport Athlete of the Year
  • 2008 and 2010 VU Male Athlete of the Year
  • VU Full Blue athletics, cross country and distance running (2008)

VU alumna Liam Adams is set for his second Olympics and is one of VU’s most decorated student-athletes. With a prolific running career on the track, cross country and now the marathon event Liam represented VU at a number of national and international events and twice won the Australian University Sport Male Athlete of the Year, Liam continues his VU connection as a valued representative on the University’s Sport Awards committee.

 Liam Adams competing in the marathon.

Sport: Track cycling

Event: Keirin

University course:

Highlights

  • 2017 UCI Track World Championships, world champion
  • 2016 Olympic Games Rio, bronze medal
  • 2014 and 2010 Commonwealth Games, bronze medal
  • 2017 VU Male Athlete of the Year
  • VU Full Blue cycling (2016)

Azizul Awang the “Pocket Rocket Man” a former world champion goes to his fourth Olympic Games representing Malaysia. Azizul commenced VU studies in 2015 and trains in Melbourne under Malaysian head coach John Beasley (a VU Bachelor of Sport Coaching (2015) alumna). Azizul made history and captured the imagination of a nation when he won bronze at Rio 2016, Malaysia’s first ever Olympic Games cycling medal.

Azizul Awang celebrating a track cycling success.

Sport: Judo

Event: 70kg

University courses:

Highlights

  • 2021 World Masters, Doha, Australian record
  • 2021 Asia-Oceania Championships bronze medal
  • Emerging Elite sport scholarship recipient
  • VU Full Blue judo (2015), Half Blue judo (2014)

Making her Olympic debut, Aoife Coughlan is a current student and one of three siblings all elite Judokas studying at VU. With a very full sport schedule Aoife managed to complete a double degree in early 2021 and has already commenced another degree.

Aoife Coughlan competeing in a judo competition.

Sport: Para-table tennis

Event: Singles - Class 4

University course:

  • Bachelor of Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbs) (2009).

Highlights

  • 5 x Paralympian, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal
  • 10 x Australian Open titles
  • VU Full Blue in wheelchair tennis (2008)

An incredible career Danni Di Toro is going to her sixth Paralympic Games, four times in wheelchair tennis and this will be her second campaign in para-table tennis. Danni also leads the Australian Paralympic team as co-captain for the second time. Her leadership further extends to being appointed Paralympics Australia’s Athlete Engagement and Wellbeing Officer in 2017, and Vice Chairperson of the Athlete Commission.

Danni Di Toro competing in a table tennis competition.

Sport: Shooting

Event: Pistol

University course:

Highlights

  • 2019 World Summer Universiade
  • 2018 FISU World University Shooting Championships, gold medal
  • 2018 Commonwealth Games, silver medal
  • VU Elite High Performance scholarship recipient
  • 2018 and 2019 VU Male Athlete of the Year
  • VU Full Blue Shooting (2016)

Another recent graduate Sergei Evglevski goes to his first Olympic Games in Tokyo. A 2018 World University champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Sergei had the honour of being selected flag bearer for the Australian team at the 2019 World Summer Universiade Napoli.

Sergei Evglevski competing in a shooting tournament.

Sport: Para-athletics

Event: Shot put (F20)

University courses:

Highlights

  • 2016 Paralympic bronze medal
  • 2015 World Champion, Doha
  • VU High Performance Sport Scholarship recipient
  • 2015 and 2016 VU Male Athlete of the Year
  • 2012 Paralympic gold medal and world record
  • VU Full Blue athletics (2015)

Todd "the Hulk" Hodgetts is a gold medal Paralympian, former world record holder, world champion and larger than life character. During his time studying Todd represented VU at the Australian University Games twice winning gold and one bronze medal. Other honours include receiving the Personal Excellence Award at the Victorian Institute of Sport Award of Excellence and being named 2015 Male Para Athlete of the Year by Athletics Australia.

Todd Hodgetts holding the Australian flag at a competition.

Sport: Table tennis

Event: Singles

University course:

Highlights

  • 2018 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane
  • 2016 Olympic Games, Rio
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow
  • 2011 World Summer Universiade (World University Games), Schenzen
  • VU Full Blue table-tennis (2014)

VU alumnus and teacher David Powell competes at his second Olympic Games. As a student David competed at the World University Games and Commonwealth Games. For his 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign David was teamed with VU aluma and Sport Hall of Famer Miao Miao for the mixed doubles.

David Powell competing in a table tennis match.

Sport: Artistic swimming (formerly synchronised swimming)

University course:

Highlights

  • 2017 Australian Team Captain FINA World Championships, Budapest
  • 2016 Olympic Games, Rio
  • 2018 VU Jacinta Carrol Academic and Sporting Excellence awardee 
  • VU Full Blue synchronised swimming (2017)

Emily Rogers commenced at VU already an Olympian, competing in Rio during year 12. Starting out in her first junior team with the Golden Fish Synchro club based at VU’s Aquatic Centre, Emily later joined as a swim teacher and excelled in the first year of her degree, winning VU’s Sporting and Academic Excellence Award. Emily re-located to Perth in 2019 with the national Synchronised Swim (now Artistic Swimming) program, in preparation for Tokyo.

Emily Rodgers and teammate at the pool.

Sport: Badminton

Event: Women’s doubles

University course:

Highlights

  • 2018 Commonwealth Games, fourth place
  • 2015, 2018 and 2019 VU Female Athlete of the Year
  • Elite High Performance scholarship recipient
  • VU Full Blue badminton (2014)

Gronya Somerville, is making her Olympic debut. With the Tokyo 2020 postponement and other international events deferred, Gronya took the opportunity to finalise the remaining units of her degree graduating in early 2021.

Gronya Somerville competing in a badminton match.

Aoife Coughlan competeing in a judo competition.

Aoife Coughlan – judo

Gronya Somerville competing in a badminton match.

Gronya Somerville – badminton

Historical record

Victoria University has a proud record of students and alumni competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Name Sport Olympic Games
Ali Abdo Wrestling Beijing 2008, Athens 2004, Sydney 2000
Liam Adams Athletics Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Azizul Awang Track cycling Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Andris Blicavs Basketball Montreal 1976
Aoife Coughlan Judo Tokyo 2020
Eoin Coughlan Judo Rio 2016
Luke Doerner Hockey Beijing 2008
Ivo Dos Santos Judo London 2012
Chris Erickson Race walking Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016
Jane Fleming Athletics Seoul 1988
Sergei Evglevski Shooting Tokyo 2020
Andew Gaze AM Basketball Seoul 1988, Los Angeles 1984, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000
Jarrod Gilchrist Water polo Rio 2016
Shane Gould AM MBE Swimming Munich 1972
Nicholas Heffernan Fencing Sydney 2000
Dennis Iverson Judo Beijing 2008
Rebecca Joyce Rowing Atlanta 1996
Harry Laidlaw Alpine skiing PyeongChang 2018
Tania Luiz Badminton Beijing 2008
Mike McKay OAM Rowing Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004
Miao Miao Table tennis Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012
Morgan Mitchell Athletics Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Danny Morseu Basketball Los Angeles 1984, Moscow 1980
Jim Nevin OAM Cycling Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956
Kotuku Ngwati Swimming Rio 2016
Lisa O'Keefe Taekwondo Sydney 2000
Tarren Otte Synchronised swimming Beijing 2008, London 2012
David Powell Table Tennis Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Michael Power Athetlics Sydney 2000
Emily Rogers Synchronised swimming Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Campbell Rose AM Sailing Seoul 1988
Larry Sengstock Basketball Moscow 1980, Seoul 1988, Los Angeles 1984, Barcelona 1992
Ross Smith Badminton Beijing 2008, London 2012
Gronya Somerville Badminton Tokyo 2020
Heath Spence Bobsleigh Sochi 2014
Rebecca Steele Swimming Sydney 2000
Lara Sullivan Judo Atlanta 1996
Rebecca Sullivan Judo Sydney 2000
Renuga Veeran Badminton London 2012
Erin Walklate (nee Carroll) Badminton Beijing 2008
Peter Winter Athletics Atlanta 1996
Casey Wright Cross-country skiing PyeongChang 2018

 

Name Sport Olympic Games
Todd Hodgetts OAM Para-athletics shot put (F20) London 2012, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Josh Hose OAM Wheelchair rugby London 2012, Rio 2016
Daniela Di Toro Para-tennis,
Para-table tennis
Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020
Ella Sabljac Wheelchair basketball Tokyo 2020
Ellen Steele Swimming Sydney 2000

 

Andrew Gaze in the procession for the 2000 Olympics.

Andrew Gaze AM, Australia flag-bearer at 2000 Sydney Olympic Games