Gone are the days of Rachel Crothers struggling to balance full-time work, full-time study for her psychology degree and her pursuit of Olympic selection after she was announced as a recipient of a University of Canberra sports scholarship.
A wave of relief washed over the Brumbies Super W fullback as she was named one of ten UC students to receive the Eldon and Anne Foote $10,000 sporting scholarships to help balance both her rugby career and tertiary education.
The former Australian women’s rugby sevens speedster is hoping to push herself back into selection talks ahead of the 2020 summer Olympics and said the money will not only help her back pocket and stress levels at uni but also allow her to have another crack at Olympic selection.
“I don’t know how people study full time and work full time, let alone trying to make Olympic selection,” Crothers said with a smile. “For me, it is a big relief to be able to spend more time on the field, in the gym and studying as well as trying to work.
“This year is the first year that I have managed to balance both and I can tell you that this is the happiest I have been and the most motivated I have been in all aspects of what I am doing.
“Given my age and history in rugby, this is sort of my last chance to have a crack at that Olympic selection so this is another motivating force to get back out there with the Australian team.”
For local shooter Thomas Ashmore, who spends most of his savings on ammunition, the scholarship is a welcome boost to his qualification in the Oceania Championships and for future Olympic Games.
“So far I have actually spent some of the scholarship on ammunition and flights for my selection in the Oceania Championships in November this year,” he said. “I currently work heavy hours at nights so I can come to uni or training the next morning.
“It has definitely taken its toll but now having this scholarship will narrow my work hours.”
UC Sports Director Carrie Graff said the scholarship was not only meant to help their sporting pursuits but to highlight the importance of tertiary study and having a career outside sport.
“To be a student-athlete and receive a scholarship has a massive impact on their sporting and study options,” she said. “To have a degree behind you when you completed your career as an athlete helps you embark on your next career.
“You might have a career to your 50s or 60s in the one industry. For athletes, they are generally done by their 30s.
“Here at UC, we are keen to develop further about how many scholarships we can create for elite athletes.”
The ten recipients of the Eldon and Anne Foote sporting scholarships:
Diandra Martin (Muay Thai), Rachel Crothers (rugby union), Storm Sanders (tennis), Mitch Maguire (AFL), James Nipperess (track and field), Josh Katz (judo), Thomas Robertson (rugby league), Penny Slater (triathlon), Thomas Ashmore (shooting) and Harry Glackin (rowing).