The Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) first approached Griffith University and the Oceania Foundation in 2018, with the idea of a University Athletics Scholarship for a Pacific Island student. It was a focus area of improvement for OAA, in that they were able to provide excellent facilities and support for Oceania athletes in their athletic pursuits. Still, they needed to sacrifice study or careers to come to Australia and train. In this regard, Alison Fairweather began dealing with Duncan Free, of Griffith University, and Helen McMurray, of the Oceania Foundation. Together they started laying the outline of the combined scholarship idea, and in 2020 it will become a reality.
Oceania Athletics Association has partnered with Griffith University and the Oceania Australia Foundation to provide an outstanding Pacific Island athlete with the opportunity to obtain a Business degree while training to be an elite athlete. There were some excellent applications submitted, with 19-year-old Fijian sprinter, Heleina Young being offered the inaugural scholarship.
Young comes from Suva, Fiji, and has already put the Oceania region on notice with her outstanding achievements to date. Fresh from the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa – where she returned with one gold medal and three silver – Young is excited to be given the opportunity to study and train in Australia. Her coach in Suva, Mr Bola Tafoou, was instrumental in encouraging Young to apply, and sent her to Australia with his blessing.
OAA is looking forward to welcoming Young to stay at Oceania House, being the athlete accommodation available for any Oceania athletes who may need a base at the Gold Coast for either short- or long-term stays. Oceania House is located in Varsity Lakes and is modern, fully self-contained accommodation; a home away from home.
OAA welcomes inquiries from athletes who are interested in a stay at the house. All such inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.