Young Local Athletes Awarded Scholarships
A record number of West Auckland’s promising young athletes have applied to the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation for a training or scholarship grant. Their achievements will be celebrated at the annual awards evening to be held at The Trusts Arena in November.
Set up in 1997 in memory of the late Don Oliver, the legendary Olympic and Commonwealth Games weightlifter, the Foundation’s mission is to provide support for outstanding young athletes from West Auckland.
‘Each year we recognise outstanding young Westie sportsman and women who have the talent, the commitment and the X factor to make it to the top of their sport,’ advises the Foundation’s Chairman, Dai Bindoff.
The Foundation has also recently introduced a special Harry O’Rourke Memorial award for the most outstanding applicant with a disability.
Scholarships are available at three levels. Gold scholarships are worth $5,000 while silver and bronze are worth $4,000 and $3,000 respectively. In addition, there are a number of training grants up for grabs worth $1,000 each. Funding from the Foundation can make all the difference to these top athletes achieving success at the national or international level.
The Foundation has indeed got an impressive list of past recipients including world, Olympic and national champions as well as a host of others who have excelled at the youth and Oceania levels.
The best known past scholar is probably the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist swimmer, Lauren Boyle. Other notable athletes to have benefitted from the Don Oliver awards include Dion Smith who made a big impression at this year’s Tour de France and Tylah Nathan-Wong, a long-time member of the world champion women’s rugby sevens team.
Selections are made by an independent panel of sports experts which is chaired by The Trusts CEO, Simon Wickham.
‘Since it was set up in 1996, the Don Oliver awards system has worked brilliantly in funding our future top athletes,’ advises Dai Bindoff.
‘There hasn’t been a New Zealand Olympic or Commonwealth Games team since we started that hasn’t had at least one past or present Don Oliver scholar, all plucked from the schools, clubs, training fields and courts of West Auckland. There were five at this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games alone,’ concludes Dai.
Thanks in large measure to the Foundation, West Auckland’s most promising young athletes are being recognised and set on course to achieving their dreams at the national and international stage.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation, have a look at their website.