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Sports Scholarships for Talented Youth

This December five young aspiring sports people could be following in the footsteps of world champion kayaker Aimee Fisher, by securing a scholarship to help them train and study in Hawke’s Bay.

Sports Hawke’s Bay and EIT Sports Scholarships will have been awarded for 20 years and this year will mark the 100th recipient.

“Our aim is to assist top sports performers who are or have the potential to represent the country, to help them excel and reach their potential,” said Eddie Carson, EIT Careers Counsellor. Carson along with Ryan Hambleton from Sports Hawke’s Bay and Kirsten Westwood, EIT Health and Sport Head of School, will be reviewing the applicants and making the call on which five gain scholarships.

Scholarship applications close on 24 November 2018. Each scholarship is valued at up to $2000 per year. The money can be spent on fees for study or to offset the cost of travel, for sports equipment or other expenses associated with training.

Olympian and world champion K4 canoe sprinter, Aimee Fisher received a scholarship in 2013 and again in 2014. As a school leaver, Aimee said she found the financial support invaluable. “It’s expensive pursuing the goal of being an Olympic champion. With one year’s scholarship I was able to buy what was then the best kayak boat available. It meant I could train in Hawke’s Bay at the same level as others.” That kayak still serves as her training vehicle when she’s in Hawke’s Bay.

“Staying in Hawke’s Bay meant I could make the most of my support networks until I needed to leave to join the Olympic squad.”

For Olivia Mador-Puna, also a recipient in 2013 and junior Hawke’s Bay Sportsperson of the Year, the grant “helped reduce the financial pressure in the long run”. Now Workfit Coordinator for Sports Hawke’s Bay, Mador-Puna says “As students, at the time we don’t truly understand the impact paying back a loan can have. It really starts to take its toll once you move into the workforce.”

In 2018, the recipients were Sian Fendell, who plays canoe polo; Thomas Dew, a gymnast; Rita Hokianga, a softball player; Zoe Gordon, an equestrian; and Truman Stuart who represents Hawke’s Bay in waka ama.

“Over the years we’ve had a huge cross section of sports represented,” Hambleton said. “The student doesn’t need to be from Hawke’s Bay but they do need to be willing and able to represent this region in their chosen field.”

Westwood said the scholarships were an acknowledgement that an athlete’s sporting life should be supported by education, as it enabled sportspeople to move into other careers if needed. Sport can have a finite period, especially at the top level.

“Previous scholarship winners have studied a myriad of subjects during their time at EIT. While many take up studies in the health and recreation sector, others have studied business and, teaching and wine science,” said Westwood.

Scholarship application information and forms can be found on the EIT and Sports Hawke’s Bay websites.

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