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Riley Day teams up with water polo great Debbie Watson

Wednesday, 4 October 2017 | Anonym



Beaudesert high school student Riley Day has already run against dual world record holder Usain Bolt and the reigning world 200m champion Dafne Schippers in her track career. 

The 17-year-old from Beaudesert in Queensland was the star of Nitro Athletics earlier in the year and recently made her senior debut in the 200m heats at the world championships in London.

As the country’s brightest young star in athletics Day will be part of the 2018 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program that will provide support and funding for five of Australia’s brightest young sports stars.

Awarded annually as part of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner – proudly presented by Etihad Airways – the successful recipients will be presented their scholarships by their respective mentors on Thursday, 12th October 2017 at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Day will be mentored by Debbie Watson OAM who is considered Australia’s best ever female water polo player and won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

“Receiving the Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship is a shock and an amazing surprise,” Day said.

“To be chosen out of all of the very deserving applicants is an absolute honour.

“I am very grateful to receive this scholarship and will embrace every opportunity so that it enables me to further my career. 

“I’d like to hear about her (Watson’s) greatest achievements and challenges and what she had to do to overcome them.”

At such a young age Day’s personal bests of 11.59 sec over 100m and 23.26 for her favoured 200m are world-class, which was highlighted with a silver and gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games.

She competed at the world championships in London running in the heats of the 200m in the lane next to the reigning champion Dafne Shippers who went on to defend her title.

Earlier in the year, the star from Nitro Athletics who took on Usain Bolt in the mixed relay at Albert Park.

“My goals over the next twelve months are to compete at the Commonwealth Games and the under 20 world championships,” Day said.

Watson, who was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2006, captained the Australian women’s water polo team from 1991-96 and came out of retirement to help the team win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Riley is an incredible talent and I am honoured to be paired with her as a mentor,” Watson said.

“At such a young age she has already competed at a world championships and has a wonderful future ahead of her.

“I am hoping I can be an ear for Riley in whatever way she needs, any assistance or advice I can provide to help Riley achieve her goals will be my pleasure to give.

“I am very excited about this opportunity and the road ahead.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chairman John Bertrand AO, who was a mentor to 2013 scholarship holder and Olympic silver medallist sailor Olivia Price, said the mentor program is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“These scholarship and mentoring programs are designed to give our young athletes a turbo boost into the real world of high-end performance on the world stage,” Bertrand said.

“It is a truly money can’t buy experience and the success rate has been a phenomena.”

Successful recipients receive one-on-one personal mentoring by a current member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, in what is a unique and life changing experience. Recipients will also be awarded a $5,000 sporting expenses grant, as well as one international return economy flight thanks to major sponsor Etihad Airways.

2018 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program






Riley Day



Josephville, Qld

Debbie Watson OAM

Water Polo

Nia Jerwood



Shelley, WA

Liane Tooth OAM


Poppy Starr Olsen



The Junction, NSW

Layne Beachley AO


Ben Tudhope



Manly, NSW

Nick Farr-Jones AM


Ben Ward



Upper Coomera, Qld

Tim Horan AM


-- Courtesy of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame



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