FUTURE STAR TO LEARN FROM FORMER GREAT

FUTURE STAR TO LEARN FROM FORMER GREAT

Rising star of wheelchair basketball Tom O’Neill-Thorne last night received one of Australian sport's highest honours as he was formally accepted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2015 Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

O’Neill-Thorne, 17, is one of just five scholarship recipients accepted into the 2015 program at last night's Sport of Australia Hall of Fame 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner, and will be mentored by Sport Australia Hall of Famer, two-time Olympian and all-time hockey great David Bell OAM.

This year, O’Neill-Thorne became the youngest ever member of the Australian Rollers squad who successfully defended their title as they took gold at the 2014 IWBF World Championships in South Korea.

The gold medal capped off a whirlwind 12 months for the Darwin native, which included a bronze medal at the 2013 Under-23 Worlds in Turkey alongside winning Australian Male Junior Wheelchair Basketballer of the Year and NT Junior Sportsperson of the Year awards.

In addition to being mentored by Bell, O’Neill-Thorne will also receive a $5000 sporting expenses grant and an international return airfare courtesy of Etihad Airways.

Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarships are awarded to aspiring athletes under the age of 21 to help them reach the highest levels of their sport.

“Not only does the Scholarship and Mentoring Program provide recipients with financial assistance, it allows them unrivalled access to some of Australia’s sporting greats,” said John Bertrand AM, chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Since the introduction of the program in 2006, 50 young Australian athletes have benefited from mentoring by Australian sporting legends including Cathy Freeman, Susie O’Neill, Rechelle Hawkes, David Parkin, Robert de Castella, Bruce McAvaney, Nick Farr-Jones, Andrew Gaze, Liz Ellis, Mick Doohan and SAHOF Chairman, John Bertrand.

The success of the program is outstanding, with 17 past/present scholarship recipients representing Australia at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Click here to read more about The Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2015 Scholarship and Mentoring Program.