SPONSORED: Twenty-four young guns are set to follow in the footsteps of iconic Australian Indigenous athletes like Cathy Freeman, Nova Peris and Kyle Vander Kuyp after being selected to attend Athletics Australia’s prestigious Raise the Bar Indigenous Academy, held in Melbourne last week.
The talented Indigenous athletes came from all corners of Australia, such as Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land and Wodonga in Victoria, to train with leading athletics coaches, cook with Coles Masterchef Michael Weldon and visit the Collingwood Football Club.
Among the rising stars was Leroy Reid, the reigning New South Wales U17 Men’s 200m champion and silver medallist at the recent Australian All-Schools Championship in Perth.
Reid, whose family is Gadigal and Awabakal, said the experience has inspired him to aim for the Olympics.
“Raise the Bar was an amazing experience and I learnt so much about athletics and career pathways. It was great to meet Australian athletes like Kyle Vander Kuyp, Linden Hall and Jemima Montag. I also really liked going to the Rally for Relief tennis at Melbourne Park and visiting Collingwood Football Club,” he said.
Coles’ Head of Indigenous Affairs, Russell James, said Coles was proud to have employed ten Indigenous athletes as a result of the program.
“As Australia’s largest private-sector employer of Indigenous Australians, Coles sees the Raise the Bar program as an important way to inspire young Indigenous athletes to pursue their dreams both on and off the track,” James said.
Dual Olympian and Raise the Bar mentor, Kyle Vander Kuyp, said the Academy provides invaluable support to young Indigenous Australians looking to pursue their Olympic dreams.
“Raise the Bar not only helps Indigenous Australians to become better athletes, but it equips them with skills that will help them to study at university or get a job during or after their athletics careers,” he said.
The Raise the Bar Indigenous Academy is a partnership with Athletics Australia, the University of Melbourne and Coles that helps to support Indigenous athletes identified for their athletics, leadership and academic potential.