Rowing Australia is delighted to announce that its Para-Rowing Talent Development Coordinator, Tara Huntly, has been awarded a scholarship by The Layne Beachley Foundation. The Aim for the Stars scholarships were offered nationally to girls and women looking for that extra financial support to achieve their goals in their chosen field of pursuit, which in Ms Huntly’s case was in the field of Culture and Community Development.
Ms Huntly has been awarded a $4,000 scholarship by the foundation to work closely the Vanuatu Rowing Association to help develop a para-rowing program for the island nation. There were 900 applicants for scholarships, with only 40 selected; this is the third year that someone involved in rowing has been awarded a scholarship, with Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey receiving one in 2015 and Sarah Cook receiving one in 2014.
“My dream is to provide sporting opportunities for people with impairments which allow them to pursue their sporting dreams and have access to resources to ensure they’re given the best opportunity to reach their potential.
“In my role at Rowing Australia I’m lucky enough to be able to assist people with impairments achieve their dreams on a daily basis, but this scholarship from The Layne Beachley Foundation will see me help the Vanuatu Rowing Association to set up a sustainable para-rowing program,” said Ms Huntly.
With her scholarship funding, Ms Huntly plans to work closely with Vanuatu to help it to do the following: identify suitable coaches, obtain specialised para-rowing equipment, identify eligible athletes, provide training opportunities to coaches, provide training opportunities which provides them with the skills to identify eligible athletes, develop program structures for both recreational and elite athletes and identify a clear pathway to International representation.
Ms Huntly, who is also a member of FISA’s Para-Rowing Commission, will use the funding to allow her to travel to Vanuatu and provide hands on assistance to the rowing association and spend time with them to understand their needs when developing a para-rowing program as well as helping them to identify people locally to create a sustainable and self-efficient program.
Speaking about what it meant to receive the scholarship, Ms Huntly added: “As an athlete and person, the sport of rowing has given me so much. It has helped me to develop my self-esteem and confidence, and it has opened doors for me which have allowed me to stay in the sport for over 16 years.
“I want to assist others to develop programs and structures which will allow others to become involved in the sport and have access to opportunities like myself. Everyone should have the opportunity to be involved in rowing, and sport in general.
“I am extremely grateful and honoured to receive one of the 40 scholarships offered in 2016 and I would like to thank the Layne Beachley Foundation for giving me this opportunity. There are a lot of amazing and inspiring women who have received scholarships this year and also in the past and to be considered worthy of one alongside them is a true honour.
I believe that the support I am receiving from the Foundation will be of real benefit to the development of para-rowing in Vanuatu. I’d also like to thank Rowing Australia for supporting me in driving this initiative.”
Rowing Australia’s General Manager – Sport, Jaime Fernandez added: “On behalf of everyone at Rowing Australia I would like to congratulate Tara on receiving this scholarship. We are a proud rowing nation which boasts some of the top para-rowers in the world and we’re delighted that Tara is going to be help grow the sport of para-rowing in Vanuatu.”