Sports achievement award winner Don Robertson, 91, is congratulated by Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate.
Sports achievement award winner Don Robertson, 91, is congratulated by Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate. Contributed

Lifestyle guru claims sports title at 91

AT 91 years of age, Don Robertson has not lost his competitive spirit.

He was the second oldest competitor at the Pan Pacific Masters Games last year.

On Australia Day, he was handed another prize - the Gold Coast sports achievement award.

Don has swum every day since 1930.

The Runaway Bay resident competed in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events as well as the 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m backstroke at the Masters Games.

He was actually in a race of his own in the 90 to 94 age group and snapped up two gold medals and four silver.

Don trains up to 1km a day during his training season and is an inspiration to others, encouraging all Gold Coasters to live a more active lifestyle.

Gold Coast Citizen of the Year for 2017 is Professor Ian O'Connor, the driving force behind the growth of Griffith University and development of the health and knowledge precinct.

 

Professor Ian O’Connor (left) picks up the title of Gold Coast Citizen of the Year from Mayor Tom Tate.
Professor Ian O’Connor (left) picks up the title of Gold Coast Citizen of the Year from Mayor Tom Tate. Samuel Lindsay

He has been vice chancellor of Griffith University since January 2005.

During his tenure, the institution has grown to more than 44,000 students and is ranked in the top three per cent of universities worldwide.

A particular achievement is his oversight of the growth and development of the Gold Coast campus, bringing to fruition the Gold Coast University Hospital.

This remarkable facility fundamentally underpins the development of the city's health and knowledge precinct.

Ian also volunteers his time to several Gold Coast organisations and is described as "an inspirational role model".

He is widely published in the field of juvenile justice, child welfare and the future directions of social work and human services.

When asked late last year why Griffith University chose the Gold Coast as its stomping ground, Ian told YP Gold Coast that it was a "no-brainer".

"This (the Gold Coast) is one of the most exciting and dynamic places in the country," he said.

"This was a city which had been historically under-provided with higher education and research.

"We have spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars ensuring that the young people of this city don't need to leave this city to be educated."

Ian says international students who return home are great advocates of the Gold Coast as a great place to live, a great place to do business and a great place to work.


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