Elite Athlete Program a winner

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The common theme from a batch of Elite Athlete Program (EAP) students attending a recent graduation lunch at the No.1 Oval grandstand was: “I couldn’t have done in without the program.”

Six EAP holders who have completed their university degrees while training and competing at national and international levels attended the lunch. And there were plenty or merits and honours scattered through their degrees.

Steeplechaser Cheryl Chan (Doctor of Medicine), rower Jamie Ford (BA – International and Government Relations), high jumper Sebastian Gray (LLB), water polo player Christian Kyriakou (BSc – Medical Science), basketballer Alysha Skerritt (Bachelor of Project Management – Software), and long jumper Nick van Gelder (B Commerce- Liberal Studies) all praised the EAP staff for their support in helping them rearrange essay and exam times so they could train and compete.

Cheryl Chan said the program was vital for her to finish her degree and still compete at a high level. Nick van Gelder agreed. “I wouldn’t be graduating and still training and competing without the assistance the EAP gave me. It’s a great program,” he said.

Deborah Fox, Co-ordinator of Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness’ Elite Athlete Program (EAP), said all of the Sports Scholarship holders presently have access to sports psychologist and dietitians and access to the gymnasiums on campus as well as conditioning programs.

“The EAP can also provide one-on-one tutoring in certain academic subjects, but it’s the academic representation that the sports scholarship holders value the most,” Fox said.

“Exam movement and extensions on assignments are the most common areas we provide assistance for students. We have a strong relationship with the Special Consideration Unit at the University.

“Any student can apply for exam movements or extensions on assignments, but with the EAP students they have to be attending training camps or competing at national or international events that coincide with exams or essay dates.

“That’s where the EAP staff step in to get things changed for the athletes. It saves the EAP students valuable time that they then use for study, training or competing. Time management is key for these students.”

Fox said former EAP student Jamie Ford was a good case in point. “In 2019 Jamie was training in Japan to earn selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (which have been shifted to July-August 2021 because of the COVID issue).

“She was a BSc student majoring in Environmental Studies which required site visits. We assisted her right through and she not only earned selection for the Tokyo Games, she completed her degree and has now graduated.”

Learn more about the Elite Athlete Program and its athletes here.