By SAM RIGNEY
05 Nov, 2010
After narrowly missing out on Australia’s Commonwealth Games team, Laura Whaler is hoping a scholarship will set her off on the right foot towards the 2012 London Olympics.
The East Maitland sprinter was the recipient of a $2000 Olympic Scholarship from the Greater Building Society and the Hunter Academy of Sport on Thursday.
“The World Championships are next year and that’s obviously a stepping stone towards the Olympics,” she said.
“It’s a long journey and takes a lot of hard work but I’m on the right track and with support like this from Hunter Academy and the Greater and from my coaches and family it makes it a lot easier.”
Whaler conceded in her battle to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in June after she failed to run the 11.35 second A-qualifying time for the 100 metres.
She had expected to be selected for the games in the relay after placing second at the nationals in the 100m and recording a B-qualifier.
But Athletics Australia chose not to include a 4x100m relay team in its Commonwealth Games squad.
Whaler said she had been nominated for the scholarship by Hunter Academy after her recent successes on the track before a panel decided the top 10 athletes in multiple sports who would receive the funding.
“I really appreciate the help that I’m getting,” she said.
“This money will help me get to meets that aren’t Athletics Australia funded, pay for flights, treatment and petrol as I look to make my first Australian team.”
In addition to the funding, Whaler will also receive advice from the Hunter Academy’s consultants in areas such as sports psychology, nutrition, physical fitness, injury prevention and injury treatment.
“We also get to take advantage of some of the services at the Hunter Academy,” she said.
“We’ll get access to things like the physiotherapist and sports psychologist at the academy.
“I’m really grateful to acquire this scholarship considering all the talented athletes there are in the Hunter.”
First on her list as she looks to qualify for the World Championships in South Korea from August to September, 2011 is the Bay Sheffield Gift in South Australia on December 27 and 28. Following that Whaler will start the 2011 season at the Hunter Track Classic held at Glendale in January.