Inspired by the assistance she received as a 14-year-old from surfing champion Layne Beachley, Caroline Buchanan knows first hand the benefits of a helping hand along the way.
The assistance she received all those years ago propelled Caroline into becoming an eight-time BMX World champion. It’s also the motivation behind her NextGen Scholarship Program.
The aim of the NextGen scholarships is to better support the progression of BMX and the future of women in the sport by giving them opportunities to excel on the world stage.
Now in its seventh year, the NextGen Scholarship Program has benefited 13 young female BMX riders. Initially it was bankrolled by Caroline who sold her Olympic bike and world championship jersey, and used crowdfunding, to make it happen.
Such fundraising measures are no longer required with leading Canberra Professional Services consulting firm Rubik3 partnering with Caroline to provide two scholarships in 2020 worth $5,000 each as part of a three-year deal.
“I am incredibly thankful to Rubik3 for supporting the NextGen Program,” says Caroline, who knows the importance of this support for young, aspiring sportswomen.
Caroline is calling on female BMX riders in the 14 and 15 years age groups to apply for the scholarship to fund their trip to compete in the World Championships.
Caroline outlines the process of scholarship selection: “The girls present their applications. We look at their drive to compete in the sport as well as their results. Then it comes down to their placing at the National Titles on March 26 in Launceston, Tasmania. The highest placed applicants in the 14 and 15 years age divisions will be awarded scholarships. Applicants must also have a desire to compete at the World Championships.”
Caroline has been impressed with the performances of previous scholarship holders, saying “it has been so encouraging to see their progression in the sport”.
While Caroline has one eye on potential scholarship holders, much of her focus this year will be on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. She’s had a lengthy time away from the sport after recovering from horrific injuries suffered in an accident on a farm.
Now fully fit and race-ready, Caroline effectively starts her Olympic qualifying campaign at the World Cup races in Shepparton next weekend followed by two World Cup races in Bathurst.
From next weekend on there will be a series of races which will determine the makeup of the Australian BMX team. Australia has already secured two quota places for the Olympics.
Caroline says her aim is to lock in one of those positions in the Australian team.
In many respects it is different this time around, having been the rider most were chasing. This year she will be one of the pursuers.
In her downtime, Caroline will be keeping a close eye on the next generation of young female riders with the 2020 NextGen Rubik3 Scholarship Program in mind.
For further details and to apply for the NextGen Rubik3 Scholarship: http://www.carolinebuchanan.com/next-gen-scholarship.