The program hopes to inspire the young sports people by providing financial assistance and allowing them to be mentored by some of Australia’s greatest athletes.
In addition to being mentored by Sport Australia Hall of Fame members, recipients also receive a $5000 sporting expenses grant, an international return airfare provided by Etihad Airways and an on-stage presentation at The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame chairman John Bertrand said the scholarship and mentoring program is a fantastic initiative.
“It is one of the most sought after scholarships for aspiring athletes in Australia and we are proud of the success of the program in its first seven years,” Bertrand said.
“At the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, 17 previous scholarship recipients were representing Australia.”
The 20-year-old Watson has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last 12 months, being called into the Melbourne Vixens squad as a replacement player, then locking down a position in their starting line-up and being a key part of their ANZ Championship premiership side.
She was named in the Australian Diamonds 2014 squad.
Watson, who is heading off to New Zealand with the Australian 21/U side next week, said it was an honor to be selected from almost 100 applicants to be part of the program.
“Just to be recognised with the names going through the scholarship program is amazing,” Watson said.
“It’s been a massive, overwhelming and exciting year for me.”
Watson’s mentor will be former Australian water polo player Debbie Watson – no relation, pictured right – who famoulsy captained the national team to the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In 2006 she was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall Of Fame and the International Swimming Hall Of Fame in 2008.
“She’s an incredible athlete so it’s great to have her as a mentor,” Liz Watson said.
“She’s someone that comes from a different sport, but she was still involved in a team sport so I think we’ll have some very similar experiences to talk about.”
Watson will be acknowledged at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame gala awards dinner being held at the Palladium at Crown in Melbourne on October 9.
Established in 1985, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame aims to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian Sport and excite the next generation of Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and in life.
Introduced in 2006, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship and mentoring program has seen 56 scholarships awarded across 28 sports and provides recipients with the opportunity to draw on the experience and wisdom of Sport Australia Hall of Fame members.
Click here for more information about The Sport Australia Hall of Fame.