Six budding young para-sport athletes have already benefited from the words of encouragement and inspiration of one of Australia’s greatest ever athletes after being named as recipients of the 2020 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship.
Commonwealth Games Australia and the Carbine Club of NSW have again joined to present the scholarship program targeting talented individual para-sport athletes in NSW.
The initiative receives program support from the New South Wales Institute of Sport and is also fully endorsed by Paralympics Australia.
The scholarships recipients were due to be announced at the Carbine Club of NSW autumn racing lunch, which was cancelled, so instead they joined Fearnley for a special online induction where they heard the three-time Paralympic and dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist speak of the dealing with the uncertain times ahead for all Australians.
Designed to support para-sport ‘future talent’ athletes who receive limited support elsewhere and fast track their development to achieve success at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Kurt Fearnley Scholarship holders receive financial support up to $3750 based on their individual requirements, NSWIS program support up to $1000 including assistance with performance planning and access to NSWIS facilities, and most importantly, mentorship from the dual Commonwealth Games and three-time Paralympic gold medallist.
Building on the success of the scholarship’s inaugural year in 2019, the class of 2020 has been chosen to benefit from mentoring by one of Australian sport’s most admired athletes.
2020 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship Recipients
|Jessica Cronje||22||Narellan, NSW||Basketball||With Paralympic legend and Sport Australia Hall of Fame member Troy Sachs as her personal coach, Jessica was a member of the Devils Australian Under 25 team at the 2019 world championships which won a silver medal.|
|Aimee Fisher||18||Thornton, NSW||Athletics||Following a gymnastics injury which left her paralysed, Aimee has taken up wheelchair racing with great success. Coached by Andrew Dawes in Newcastle, Kurt’s hometown, she competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m T54 wheelchair events. Aimee is the Australian open 100m and 200m T54 champion.|
|Kailyn Joseph||17||Cherrybrook, NSW||Athletics||After winning a world junior para-athletics bronze medal at 14, Kailyn made her senior team debut with a fifth-place finish at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at just 15. Kailyn holds the Australian record at U16/U18 and U20 level in the T38 cerebral palsy category.|
|Maryanne Latu||21||Hebersham, NSW||Basketball||A member of the Devils Australian team at the U25 world championships winning the silver medal, Maryanne has also played a number of tournaments with the Gliders, Australia’s senior women’s wheelchair basketball team.|
|Benjamin Said||17||Dee Why, NSW||Cycling||Former Australian age group 1500m record holder and 5000m representative who has turned his attention to cycling. Benjamin competes on the track and road in time trial and road race events.|
|Oscar Stubbs||19||Glenwood, NSW||Swimming||Former NSW rep cricketer and soccer player who is a swimming all-rounder, Oscar competes in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and medley events in the s13 vision impaired category, Oscar collected five gold and three bronze medals at the Australian age championships in 2019.|
Fearnley, who bowed out of international competition with an emotional marathon win at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games told the scholarship recipients via an induction teleconference that he was looking forward to working with the second group of scholarship holders after a successful first year.
“Our first group of athletes have all produced excellent results in 2019, including Jasmine Greenwood who at just fourteen won an Australian title, and won bronze at the 2019 World Para-Swimming Championships along with six other top eight placings, as did Ricky Betar with bronze in the 4x100m freestyle and he also set world records in the S14 50m and 100m freestyle events during 2019,” Fearnley said.
’’Wheelchair racer Luke Bailey made his Australian representative debut at the World Para-Athletics Championships and he also won the Australian open T54 200m crown in March. And Alissa Jordaan finished 8th in the ambulant long jump and 11th in the ambulant 100m at the national titles.
’’And it’s great to be able to support Aimee Fisher for the second year. We felt the support could make the difference in her progression after winning the Australian senior titles in 2019.’’
Fearnley also thanked Commonwealth Games Australia, the Carbine Club of NSW and NSWIS for their continued support.
“We saw some real gains last year from our recipients and its and it’s great to have the opportunity to provide support to my community,” Fearnley said.
Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips said the scholarship program was an important part of developing the next para-sport representatives at the Commonwealth Games.
“The Birmingham 2022 Games with eight para sports, will have more para-sport events on the programme at a Commonwealth Games than ever before, and we want to provide our young athletes with the opportunity to fulfil their sporting aspirations,’’ Phillips said.
Bernie Campbell, Chairman of the Carbine Club of New South Wales, said the Club was proud to continue their support of the scholarships.
“The Carbine Club are proud to partner with one of Australia’s greatest sportsmen to assist junior Para-sport athletes achieve their dreams. We have a tradition of supporting junior sport in New South Wales and the Kurt Fearnley Scholarship furthers that commitment,” Campbell said.
Kevin Thompson, New South Wales Institute of Sport CEO, said he was proud of the achievements of the inaugural class and welcomes the new class of recipients.
“The results from the class of 2019 demonstrate how important this support can be for young para-athletes so we are pleased to continue our partnership with the program and look forward to welcoming the 2020 Kurt Fearnley Scholarship holders to NSWIS,” Thompson said.
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