It’s academic for athletes

THE University of New England (UNE) has extended its partnership agreement with the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) for a further three years.

UNE vice chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan,  NIAS executive officer Di Hallam, and Holly Harris, the Australian U23 Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion, an assistant coach at NIAS and UNE student and a sporting scholarship holder at this week's three-year partnership extension.

UNE vice chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan, NIAS executive officer Di Hallam, and Holly Harris, the Australian U23 Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion, an assistant coach at NIAS and UNE student and a sporting scholarship holder at this week's three-year partnership extension.

At the official signing of the partnership UNE vice chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan spoke of the long association UNE has had with NIAS, having been involved with the organisation from its inception in 1992. 

“We are proud to be able to support the talents, the personal growth and the development of so many young athletes through this partnership, offering state-of-art facilities, including sports science testing and analysis through the Exercise and Sports Science Department,” she said.

Member for Northern Tablelands and Chairman of the NIAS Board Adam Marshall highlighted the “integral role UNE plays in our organisation, helping to give students a pathway to tertiary studies.” 

“The off-field performance of our young athletes are just as important as their on-field performance, with an average of six NIAS athletes becoming UNE students each year,” he said. 

Holly Harris is one of those athletes. Holly is the Australian Under 23 Australian Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion and has held the title for three consecutive years.

She is also the assistant coach of the NIAS Mountain Biking Team, a student at UNE and recipient of the UNE Clem Jones Sporting Scholarship. Holly spoke about her personal experiences.

 “Studying at UNE means I am getting a first class education and at the same time I’m able to access state-of-the-art sporting facilities,” she said.

“The support I receive through the UNE Elite Athlete Program means that I am able to manage my training and competition commitments in conjunction with my study. “I have found this to be incredibly valuable, having had been away from Armidale for much of this year,” she added.

Executive officer at NIAS Di Hallam said:  “Holly epitomises what NIAS is all about. She is a passionate young athlete who has achieved at great levels performance wise, and is putting back into the sport and giving back to the community.” 

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