Scholarships help country athletes go the distance
Thirty-two young, elite athletes from the Mid West had their wish for funding granted in May when the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR), in partnership with Healthway, presented its annual Smarter than Smoking Country Sport Scholarships.
20 August 2008
The scholarships will help the athletes to overcome challenges like distance from competitions, facilities and training opportunities that can result from living in a regional area.
Thirty-two scholarships of up to $1500 were presented to athletes from a variety of sports including swimming, squash, archery, hockey and surfing.
DSR Mid West Manager Gary Clark said the number of applications received for the Smarter than Smoking Country Sport Scholarships was increasing every year.
"We had a total of 43 applicants from the Mid West this year, which is well above previous years," Mr Clark said.
"The scholarships are distributed according to the level of success at an elite level already achieved by the athlete and the amount of travel the athlete will be undertaking throughout the state, nationally and internationally.
"We have a terrific level of talent in our region, and this scholarship provides a boost for those athletes who may need to travel to the eastern states a number of times over the year to compete and train at a level that is vital to their skill development and will help them to reach their full potential."
International polocrosse competitor and past recipient of a Smarter than Smoking Scholarship Jane Cooper was a guest presenter at the presentation ceremony, and said issues affecting regional athletes were not always appreciated by Perth-based athletes and sporting associations.
"The simple roll out programs developed for city-based athletes fail to consider the psychological, social, economic and geographical issues that confront young people who are growing up in regional Australia," Ms Cooper said.
"It is hard to train at an elite level and it is hard to access elite level psychology, training and programs when we are a world away from state and national sports institutes and the sporting facilities that were built for Olympic and Commonwealth Games or any world level events.
"We are extremely fortunate to have organisations such as the Department of Sport and Recreation, Healthway and the Smarter than Smoking Scholarship program, which makes it possible for athletes to access funds to enhance the range, availability and quality of competitive opportunities that meet the athletes' needs."