LEAP launches into 2016

La Trobe senior leaders, including Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Keith Nugent and Vice President (Administration) Natalie MacDonald were in attendance to endorse the launch, along with staff, sport partners and La Trobe elite athletes.

During the launch, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted why LEAP is in an important program at La Trobe.

'La Trobe's elite athlete program enriches the University in many ways, not only by supporting our mission to be Australia's university of first choice for sports study and participation, but by increasing our engagement with external partners and supporting graduate employability programs,' he said.

Through a growing contribution from LEAP's supporters, the program is now able to provide elite athletes with official apparel, complimentary access to La Trobe fitness facilities and for the first time, award travel grants through the Elite Athlete Support Fund.

The Elite Athlete Support Fund has been established to provide student athletes with financial support to assist them in pursuing their sporting endeavours.

Sport Development Officer Renee Frizzell announced the inaugural recipient of the fund, awarded to Cross Country Mountain Bike rider Tasman Nankervis.

Tasman - who is representing Australia at the World Mountain Bike Championships in the Czech Republic - will be using the funding to assist in covering his travel and competition expenses.

We currently have over 100 athletes supported by LEAP across 36 different sports, with 20 representing Australia in international competition this year, including 3 Olympic hopefuls.

Olivia Burnett, a gymnast who has represented Victoria at the national gymnastics championships for 11 consecutive years, said she felt proud to be a member of LEAP.

'After having an intense week at training and feeling a bit down on myself, it was great to be recognised (at the launch),' said Burnett.

'The words of appreciation and acknowledgment from the Vice-Chancellor really made me feel valued and a part of something.'

Athletes are eligible for the elite athlete program if they are recognised or endorsed by approved professional sporting organisations, or as a squad member of Australian Sports Commission funded sports.

Thirty-four student athletes were presented with their elite athlete apparel by the Vice-Chancellor.

Media; Bronwyn Neeson 9479 1613