The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) continues supporting athletes to be successful in sport, education and life, awarding more than $320,000 in scholarships to 118 athletes across 30 sports and 31 tertiary institutions through the AIS Education Scholarship program. As part of this years program, Judo Australia national team members Aoife Coughlan and Josh Katz have been awarded scholarships and recognised for their work and dedication on the mat and in the classroom.
Aoife Coughlan, who is earning an ABHE in Exercise Science (Clinical Practice) from Victoria University, said: "I believe that completing further education is vital as an athlete because while sport is an amazing career, I know that it is not my entire identity and there is a time limit on its longevity. I think it is important to earn a qualification in something that you enjoy that will assist in the smooth transition from athlete to a member of the workforce. I have studied Exercise Science and am very passionate about the field. This has provided me with a wealth of knowledge that has assisted, and continues to assist, me to be the best athlete I can be."
"It can be challenging to balance my sporting and education commitments, however through completing these simultaneously I have developed the tools to manage my time efficiently and become a well-rounded person, not just an athlete. This scholarship is a great show of support for both my sporting and educational pursuits and I am thankful to the AIS for backing me in these endeavours."
Josh Katz, who is earning his Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science from La Trobe University, said: "I am incredibly grateful for the support that the AIS Education Scholarship has provided me during my sporting and athletic career. Having the opportunity to continue my studies and continue to prepare for life after sport without the additional financial burden of University fees is a huge weight off my shoulders."
"It's often very challenging to be able to keep a balance between my life goals, training and competition, but I have always found that study has really helped me to apply myself mentally in a different avenue outside of Judo, and I know that when I look to finish my career in the future, I will have the foundations of qualifications to be able to transition successfully into my career industry."
The scholarship program is possible thanks to the generous support of the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation.
John Wylie, former Chair of the Australian Sports Commission, said: “I’ve been inspired to see how hard athletes work to chase their sporting dreams, but it doesn’t need to be at the sacrifice of their other ambitions in life. Sport and education is a winning mix.
“It’s fantastic to see more sports and more educational institutions take the opportunity to join this program, this time we’re adding athletes from rugby, netball and boccia. We have seasoned Olympians and Paralympians who have competed at the highest level, through to emerging athletes starting out on their sporting and education journeys. That’s the wonderful opportunity Australian sport provides.”