In our continued celebrations of NAIDOC Week 2020, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) is pleased to advise that applications for the Ron Clarke Griffith Futures Scholarship are now open ahead of trimester 1, 2021.
The scholarship named in honour for one of Australia’s greatest middle distance runners, Ron Clarke AO MBE, is a partnership between Commonwealth Games Australia and Griffith University designed to support two young indigenous student athletes to study at Griffith University.
Ron Clarke, who passed away in 2015 aged 78, was an Australian sporting icon.
A middle-distance specialist, Clarke won four Commonwealth Game silver medals and an Olympic bronze medal during his illustrious career, while also setting 17 world records in distances from two miles to 20km. His careers achievements saw Clarke chosen as one of the inaugural inductees in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Away from the track, the champion runner has a passion for education.
A passion so central to Ron’s life that after lighting the Olympic flame at the Games in Melbourne in 1956, and despite being one of the world’s best young middle-distance runners, Clarke took a four-year hiatus from his athletics career as he completed his accounting degree.
CGA is pleased to support two indigenous athletes on their own sporting and education journeys through the program with Queensland’s largest university, to continue adding champions to the student alumni who have represented the green and gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Griffith University has been the choice of education for many Australian team members over the years, including eight-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Emma McKeon OAM, Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist in the hammer throw Matty Denny, two-time Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist Madison de Rozario, and eight-time Commonwealth Games medallist Cameron McEvoy.
Gold Coast 2018 weightlifter and Griffith University alumni Brandon Wakeling, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business in 2016, is excited for fellow indigenous athletes to have opportunities at the University.
“I work as an ambassador for Deadly Choices, and what I talk about in my role is building pathways for exceeding the boundaries of what our indigenous population can do,” Wakeling said.
“So to have more of a showing at the University, and to really push these two athletes to be the best that they can be both on and off of the field, or the track, or wherever they compete, is going to be a massive plus for the indigenous community.”
Brandon Wakeling made his Commonwealth Games debut at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. (CGA Archive)
Fellow Gold Coast 2018 team member Riley Day, who has five units left in her Bachelor of Business degree, believes Griffith University is the perfect place for a student athlete to be able to focus on their sporting careers while receiving support for their studies.
“The reason I chose Griffith University was because of the Griffith Sports College, I knew that the program would allow me to get to the end of my degree without me having to do it full-time otherwise I would have struggled badly with my sport commitments,” Day said.
“I know that when I have to go overseas for competitions, Griffith University will help accommodate me and my studies… whenever I needed an extension or needed to arrange a certain class, the staff from the sports program are there to help.”
Riley Day participated in the welcome to country ceremony at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. (CGA Archive)
Both athletes made their Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast, at a Games that Ron Clarke was instrumental in bringing to southeast Queensland, and were excited for other athletes to have the opportunity to represent their country in the future, with the financial support of CGA, and the guidance from the Griffith Sports College, even sharing some advice for the scholarship winners.
“Be on top of everything you are given, because the assignments can sneak up on you,” Day said. “Being buried in a lot of assignments and it’s not a fun time when you are trying to train.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help with you need it,” Wakeling said. “I know a lot of people try to do it all at once, and especially athletes who are high achievers, might carry all of the load by themselves without asking for help… so with the Sports College there, it’s all available there for you to use it.”
Two scholarships will be awarded to two indigenous student athletes, one female and one male, with the value of each scholarship for $11,000 per year for the duration of their degree and/or a maximum of four years whichever is the lesser.
In order to be eligible for the Ron Clarke Griffith Futures Scholarship, applicants:
- Must be an Australian Citizen.
- Must be either, eligible for admission to any of Griffith University’s undergraduate degree programs in 2021 or be currently enrolled in any Griffith University’s undergraduate degree programs.
- Must be a student that identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
- Must be an elite athlete competing in a Commonwealth Games sport and be a member of the Griffith Sports College, or be eligible and have applied for membership.
- Must be experiencing financial hardship and/or educational disadvantage.
The full criteria, including the tertiary admission requirements and application details, can be found below:
The closing date for applications is 4pm, Monday 1 February 2021.