Athletics Australia are today thrilled to confirm the attendance of 35 students at the inaugural Raise the Bar Academy in Melbourne (Vic) next month.

A recent addition to the longstanding Athletics for the Outback program, the Raise the Bar Academy aims to support Indigenous Australian secondary school students, who are interested in pursuing tertiary education and a career in the sports industry.

The free program consists of a three-day summer residence camp at the University of Melbourne on 19-22 January. Participants will develop new skills in athletics, training and coaching, learn about potential pathways in tertiary education and have the opportunity to connect with sports industry professionals and some of Australia’s best athletes.

“We were overwhelmed with the incredible response we had to attend the Raise the Bar Academy, receiving over 100 applications from secondary school students from all over Australia. The program is shaping up to be a fun, engaging and educational experience for its participants and we look forward to welcoming all the student athletes to Melbourne in January,” Bridgid Junot, Athletics Australia’s Indigenous Participation Coordinator, said.

“We believe that we have tapped into an unmet market for students who wish to combine their love of athletics and sport with further education at university. Considering the very impressive calibre of students we had apply to participate, we hope that this pilot program provides us with an opportunity to secure further funding for 2016 so that we can expand to cater for more students.”

Athletics Australia can confirm that the successful 35 applications (19 girls, 16 boys) were chosen from 111 submissions by students entering Year 10, 11 or 12 in 2015 from across the country.

Every Australian state and territory is represented in the list of attendees, with students to travel from as far north as Yam Island in the Torres Strait, as far west as Perth in Western Australia and as far east as Palm Island in Queensland.

The program will be attended by Athletics for the Outback ambassadors Melissa Breen (ACT), Shannon McCann (WA) and Robbie Crowther (Qld), as well as University of Melbourne athlete and national 800m record holder Alex Rowe (Vic).

The program will culminate with a dinner at the University of Melbourne, where the quartet of current athletes will be joined by mentors including Senator for the Northern Territory, the Hon. Nova Peris OAM, Athletics Australia’s Para-Athletics Medical Officer Victoria Moore, representatives of the media and academics from the University of Melbourne.

“We are so pleased that such an impressive group of athletes are making themselves available to attend the camp alongside sports industry professionals, academics from the University of Melbourne and major championship gold medallist Nova Peris,” Junot added.

“All can confidently provide insight into what it is like to work in the sporting industry, or information on balancing education with their preferred endeavour of athletics. It is our hope that the group of attendees will learn so much from the experiences of those who have gone before them and that they will remain committed to pursuing the completion of high school and tertiary education in the future.”

The inaugural Raise the Bar Academy will be held in Melbourne on 19-22 January 2015, with associated activities scheduled for Lakeside Stadium, the University of Melbourne and the MCG.

To view the Raise the Bar Academy Participant List, please click here.

Marshalling Logo for Achilles Tendinopathy Thirty-five Indigenous Australian secondary school students to benefit from inaugural Raise the Bar Academy Thirty-five Indigenous Australian secondary school students to benefit from inaugural Raise the Bar Academy marshalling room