Paralympians Monique Murphy and Ashleigh McConnell are RMIT’s Female Athletes of the Year, with Jiu Jitsu champion Semakadde Kakembo named Male Athlete of the Year.
The 2016 RMIT Sport Awards paid tribute to outstanding performances by students this year, both on and off the field.
Attended by guests including Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, and RMIT alumnus and Rio gold medallist trap shooter Catherine Skinner, the awards recognise those who excel and ensure sports continue to play a key role in the lives of our students.
2016 has been an incredible year for 22-year-old swimmer Monique Murphy.
The Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) student competed in four events at the Rio Paralympic Games: the 50m and 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and the 400m freestyle in the S10 classification.
Qualifying for the 400m final from lane two, Murphy won silver in an electrifying three-way battle for second place.
It seems fitting that she shares the award with her best friend and training partner, Ashleigh McConnell.
McConnell represented Australia in the 4x100m freestyle relay at Rio, hitting the wall under world-record time to take gold.
It’s double gold in successive years for the Associate Degree in Business student, who was part of the winning 100m relay team at last year’s IPC World Championships in Glasgow.
Male Athlete of the Year Semakadde Kakembo has had a whirlwind rise from beginner to world-champion contender.
With back-to-back wins at the Australian Jiu Jitsu championship in 2015 and 2016, gold at this year’s Victorian Jiu Jitsu Championship and an open weight gold at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Arnold Classic Australia, it seems anything is possible for the Bachelor of Legal and Disputes Studies student in 2017.
Both Murphy and McConnell were also awarded Full Blues, which recognise students who are selected to represent Australian teams in sports supported by the Australian Sports Commission.
Other 2016 Full Blues recipients were: Kristina Bates (hockey), David Brock (athletics), Sean Clarke (lacrosse), John Cochrane (cycling), Liam Donald (rowing), Jack Felsenthal (sailing), Daniel Katz (weightlifting), Stephan Kumar (ITF taekwondo), Victoria Mentor (fencing), Rahul Mysore (karate) and Abe Wright (cross-country skiing).
In other categories, our Women’s AFL team took out the University Games Team of the Year Award, having been undefeated and conceding only 10 points throughout the Australian University Games tournament.
The 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Club of the Year was awarded to the Basketball club, which increased its membership by 57 per cent this year, having received the Most Improved Club Award in 2015.
For more on the 2016 RMIT Sport Awards, visit the RMIT Sport Facebook page.