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Author: Craig Eardley

22nd Greater Building Society Olympic Sports Scholarships announced

Ten Hunter athletes striving to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea have today received a financial boost to their preparations thanks to the Greater Building Society.

The athletes were awarded a Greater Building Society Olympic Scholarship consisting of a $2,000 new LifeSaver Account from The Greater as well as ongoing advice and support from the Academy’s consultants in areas such as sports psychology, nutrition, physical fitness, injury prevention and injury treatment.

There are three first time scholarship recipients – 16 year old Merewether cyclist Nicola McDonald, 15 year old Cameron Park footballer and rugby sevens player Hannah Southwell, and 16 year old Ashtonfield hockey player Patrick Magann.

Triathlete and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Aaron Royle has been awarded his sixth successive scholarship and ice skater Kailani Crane her third. Paralympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world record holder Maddison Elliott, water polo player Gordon Marshall, and heptathlete Sophie Stanwell have received a scholarship for the second year in a row. Nathan Power and Ty Swadling received a scholarship in previous years and have again been awarded one this year.

The scholarships have been operating for 22 years, which is more than the average age of the athletes that are receiving them this year. More than $360,000 has been provided to support more than 100 athletes.

The scholarships are selected by and managed for The Greater by Hunter Academy of Sport. At the presentation ceremony new Greater Building Society CEO Scott Morgan paid tribute to retired Hunter Academy of Sport CEO Ken Clifford who was instrumental in the establishment of the scholarships when Sydney was announced as the host city of the 2000 Olympic Games. Mr Clifford has overseen the selection of every recipient. He retired at the end of October.

Mr Morgan said the athletes and their families sacrifice a great deal to represent the Hunter and Australia in their chosen sport and often don’t receive much financial support to train, buy equipment, pay medical bills and attend competition meets in Australia and internationally.

“The scholarships are one way The Greater can help these athletes and their families to be the best they can be,” Mr Morgan said.

The Rio Olympic Games will be held from August 5 to 21, 2016. The PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will be held from February 9 to 25, 2018.

Full list of winners:

Kailani Craine - 16, Figure Ice Skating, Waratah

  • Ranked no. 1 in both junior and senior ice skating in Australia
  • Member of the Australian Ladies’ Figure Skating Team.
  • Chosen to represent Australia in the World Championships in January 2015 in both the senior and junior divisions.
  • Recently returned to Australia after successfully competing in various international competitions including in a win in the Lombardia Trophy in Italy.
  • Will compete in the National Championships in Brisbane in December to see if she can be the first to claim both the senior and junior titles.

Maddison Elliott (OAM) - 16, Swimming (AWD), Gillieston Heights

  • Paralympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist
  • Youngest Australian gold medallist and youngest Australian Paralympic medallist
  • Won three gold and five silver medals at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships
  • Represented her school at the National Schools Swimming Championships
  • On Australia Day 2014, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal.

Nicola McDonald - 16, Cycling, Merewether

  • NSW Champion in a number of events – individual pursuit, scratch race, criterion, hill climb and madison.
  • Finished second in the teams pursuit, road race, standing lap and the state teams pursuit.
  • Won three 2014 women’s road tour events – Blaney to Bathurst, the Wagga Tour, and the Goulburn tour.
  • Captain of the NSW Team at the 2014 National Track Titles.

Patrick Magann - 16, Hockey, Ashtonfield

  • Member of the Australian All Schools Hockey team to tour Europe in 2015
  • Member of the 2014 NSW All Schools team, which finished second at the national championships in Adelaide.
  • Represented Newcastle at the 2014 U18 Championships and was selected in the 2015 NSW U18 squad.

Gordon Marshall - 20, Water Polo, Adamstown

  • Member of the Australian Men’s Water Polo Squad
  • Competed in 2014 in a number of series including the World Cup
  • Was in the starting seven for the University of California and was named as the Centre Forward of the Meet at the latest varsity classic tournament.

Nathan Power - 21, Water Polo, New Lambton

  • Member of the Australian Men’s Water Polo Squad
  • Played in the 2014 World Cup tournament and the World League
  • In 2013, represented Australia at both the senior and U20 world championships.

Aaron Royle - 24, Triathlon, Maryland

  • Australia’s top ranked triathlete. Ranked in the Top 10 of the Word Series
  • Third in the 2014 World Series Event in Auckland
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games - Bronze medallist in Relay Event and eighth in the Men’s Event
  • First in the USA Super Sprint held in Las Vegas
  • October 2014: Won the Fernleigh 15 foot race and defended Napean Triathlon title
  • November 1: Successfully defended his Noosa Triathlon title.

Hannah Southwell - 15, Foot ball and Rugby Sevens, Cameron Park

  • Member of the 2014 Australian Under 16 Football Squad
  • Selected to play for the Newcastle Jets in 2014
  • Youngest ever goal keeper to play in the W League
  • Selected for a number of state and national football squads for the last four years
  • Invited to train with both the Australian Open Rugby Sevens Team and the Australian Under 18 Rugby Sevens Youth Olympic Squad during 2014.

Sophie Stanwell - 23, Track and Field, Georgetown

  • Australia’s No.1 heptathlete.
  • Won the heptathlon at the 2014 Australian Athletics Championships with 5624 points.
  • Finished fourth at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with 5754 points.

Ty Swadling - 26, Trampolining, Charlestown

  • Gained automatic selection in the national team for the World Cup Tour to Portugal and Belarus and for the World Titles in Florida in November following wins at state and national levels
  • Finished fifth in Portugal, with a personal best and Australian highest score. Was third in the syncro event In Belarus.