Pass the word! Get your scholarship applications in to the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation from 1 May 2016.
50 years ago this year a West Auckland weightlifter opened the door to our athletics hall of fame by winning gold at the Kingston Commonwealth Games and this month, the organisation founded to honour his memory, will be releasing scholarship application forms seeking young Westie athletes to become this year’s Don Oliver Scholars.
Applications open 1 May and close 30 June 2016, with the winners announced at the glittering Awards Dinner hosted on 19 October at The Trusts Area by the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation (DOYSF) and its family of supporters and sponsors.
The Trusts is proud to be Associate Sponsor of DOYSF, an organisation which has helped identify an extraordinary wealth of West Auckland sporting talent and help many athletes take their place on the world stage.
As always the applications are open to outstanding young West Auckland sporting talent, in whatever sport. They must be aged 14 to 21 (both birthdays inclusive) at the time when the scholarships are granted, in August. They must be pre-elite and not professional and have their home address in West Auckland. Above all they must have the talent and character to step up to national and international honours.
Anybody can nominate a young athlete, but it’s best if the applications come with the support of a club, regional or national sporting body, coach or school. This is important because selection is very tough with an uncompromising panel of professional selectors led by The Trusts CEO, Simon Wickham.
Being deputy chairman of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and chairman of selectors for the New Zealand Olympic teams, Simon knows what it takes to get to the top and is looking for that X factor when selecting Don Oliver scholars.
So, it’s tough road to a scholarship but every year throws up some truly outstanding, world-class, young Westies. Every year most of them succeed on the world stage at some level. It is the Foundations’ proud boast that since its foundation in 1997, there hasn’t been a New Zealand Olympic or Commonwealth Games without at least one past scholar in it.
The big New Zealand hope at Rio is former scholar Lauren Boyle, although current scholar and junior world backstroke champion, Gabrielle Fa’amausili will be knocking on the door. At least two other scholars also have a very good chance of making the cut. They are Brahm Richards, a champion in both wrestling and judo and diver Elizabeth Cui, while Jared Free the current colossus of New Zealand Race Walking might be a possible bolter.