Sporting greats to mentor Australia’s future stars


Commonwealth Games Australia Alumni amongst the incoming class of Sports Australia Hall of Fame mentees for its 2023 Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) today announced the athletes selected for its 2023 Scholarship & Mentoring Program, with three Olympic gold medallists, an NBA Champion, an Australian surfing legend and a cricket great to mentor our next generation of sporting stars. 

The three-tiered scholarship program, which is backed by the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport, supports up-and-coming athletes on their journey to excellence and success on the world stage, awarding $150,000 in funding to 32 athletes each year. 

Six athletes have been selected in Tier 1 of the program and will receive $10,000 to go towards their training and competition, as well as one-on-one mentoring from some of the greats of Australian sport. 

The Tier 1 scholarship recipients are Claire Colwill (hockey) who won a silver medal at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games; Alyssa Polites (cycling) who was part of the Australian cycling squad in Birmingham; Mackenzie Mielczarek (athletics – javelin); Max Stagg (baseball); Jesse Parkinson (snowboarding); and Stefan Elliott-Shircore (sailing). 

These six athletes have each been allocated a mentor who is a current member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, having been inducted for success in and contribution to their sport. 

The 2023 mentors are two-time Olympic medallist, World and Olympic beach volleyball champion, Nat Cook (beach volleyball); two-time ICC Cricket World Cup winner, former Australian captain and 2004 Australian of the Year, Steve Waugh AO; triple Olympian and member of Australia’s first Olympic gold medal-winning hockey team, Sharon Buchanan OAM; three-time Olympic and 10-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and one of Australia’s most successful swimmers of all time, Leisel Jones OAM; three-time NBA Champion and 1989 Gaze Medallist, Luc Longley AM; and former ASP World Champion, 1991 Rip Curl Pro winner and Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Member, Barton Lynch. 

Each Tier 1 scholarship holder will receive funding from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for 12-15 months which can be used on such things as travel, training and specialist support needed to help them reach the highest level in their chosen sport, along with unrivalled access to personal guidance from their allocated mentor. 

There will be 26 more athletes receiving Tier 2 and 3 scholarships announced in the coming weeks. Tier 2 scholarships will be awarded to 10 athletes and include a $5,000 sporting expenses grant, while Tier 3 scholarships provide 16 athletes with a $2,500 sporting grant. Both tiers include SAHOF encouragement and support. 

2023 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Tier 1 Scholarship Holders & Mentors 

  • World Cup Hockey bronze medalist and Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Claire Colwill, 18, QLD (Nat Cook OAM)
  • U21 European Sailing Silver Medallist and youngest commercial pilot in Australia, Stefan Elliott-Shircore, 19, WA (Steve Waugh AO)
  • Five-time National Javelin Champion and Oceania Junior Record Holder, Mackenzie Mielczarek, 19, VIC (Sharon Buchanan OAM)
  • Australian Junior Snowboard Champion, from Queensland, Jesse Parkinson, 17, QLD (Barton Lynch)
  • Commonwealth Games representative and three-time National Cycling Record Holder, Alyssa Polites, 19, SA (Leisel Jones OAM)
  • Australian Baseball League player and first Australian to receive an invitation to attend the Perfect Game National Showcase, Max Stagg, 18, SA (Luc Longley AM)

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair and legend of Australian Sport, John Bertrand AO, said: “The Scholarship and Mentoring Program shows the power of how sport unites. Our athletes having direct access to Australia’s best is priceless, and to have them paired with a mentee from a different sport is one of a kind. The program wouldn’t exist without our Members. 

“They encourage these young people to excel in their athletic performances, face their fears and share personal, untold life stories. Luc Longley, Nat Cook, Steve Waugh, Sharon Buchanan, Barton Lynch and Leisel Jones – you couldn’t ask for better and we thank them for volunteering their time and knowledge. We welcome all 32 scholarships representing 28 sports into the 2023 program.” 

The SAHOF Scholarship & Mentoring Program is supported by the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport. 

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair, Josephine Sukkar AM, said the ASC was proud to support the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship & Mentoring Program. “This program has supported so many athletes, with many going on to represent Australia on the world stage. To see another 32 elite young athletes recognised for their talent, drive and determination is inspiring. 

“It is also pleasing to see sports like javelin, baseball and badminton represented for the first time among the 2023 scholarship holders, proving Australia’s breadth of talent when it comes to sporting success. 

“As we enter the green-and-gold decade of major international sporting events on home soil, this financial support will no doubt provide extra incentive for young athletes to help them chase their sporting dreams. 

“I congratulate all 2023 scholarship recipients and wish them every success with their sporting endeavours.”  

Since the unique Scholarship & Mentoring Program’s inception in 2006, SAHOF has benefited 173 athletes in 53 sports. The program has been supported by 96 Mentors and has distributed more than $700,000 in funding. Many mentor-mentee relationships remain strong today, including Adam Gilchrist AM and Caitlin Parker, Debbie Watson OAM and Anabelle Smith, Nick Farr-Jones AM and Ben Tudhope, and Layne Beachley AO and Poppy Starr Olsen. 


With thanks Sports Australia.



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