WODONGA’S economy is in for a boost when it plays host to the Southern University Games next year.
More than 1800 university and TAFE students will flood the city in July to compete in the annual sporting event, a pre-cursor to the Australian University Games held later next year.
Up to $4 million is expected to be pumped into local tourism and business over the five days of the event, from July 6 to 10.
Mayor Rodney Wangman said it was “wonderful news” for the city.
“The connection between sport and recreation in Wodonga has been very strong but, better than that, our local students and competitors now get to do it all here,” he said.
“Others will get to see the wonderful facilities we have here and as always I’m sure the community and local businesses will get onside.
“The doors are open so let’s encourage them, let’s enjoy the fun and festivities.”
University Games project manager Ben King said Wodonga stood out among the bidders for the event.
“They put up a really strong case — there’s really good facilities, an abundance of accommodation and great support through the council as well.
“It was a pretty clear-cut and easy decision at the end of the day.”
Sports on offer are expected to include Aussie rules, basketball, cross country, football, futsal, golf, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, squash, tenpin bowling, tennis, touch football, ultimate and volleyball.
“It’s the largest annual multi-sporting event in the country regionally, and a good opportunity to engage with the campuses down in Melbourne,” Mr King said.
“We’re also hoping to engage a bit with the local TAFE institutes, so there might be a bit of a rivalry opportunity between those university and TAFE students.”
Cr Wangman said the event could have flow-on benefits for the region’s education sector.
It would give visitors from outside the area outside a chance to inspect La Trobe University and the wide study opportunities on the Border.