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Record Number of First Nations Athletes Selected for AIS Share a Yarn Program

A record-breaking cohort of 16 First Nations athletes and 10 First Nations mentors have been selected for the prestigious AIS 2023 Share a Yarn Program (SaY). Among them, Tomysha Clark, a two-time Oceania Athletics Champion and proud Woromi and Wannarua woman, was inspired to become a SaY ambassador following the loss of her grandmother. Determined to fill the gap in her family's Indigenous heritage, Tomysha embraces this opportunity to deeply connect with her culture and continue her learning journey.

At the core of the Australian Institute of Sport's SaY program lies the significance of connection with country and culture. Over the course of 12 months, elite First Nations athletes are offered meaningful opportunities to build relationships with each other, while simultaneously discovering more about their roots, culture, and country.

The 2023 SaY program will witness a remarkable gathering of 16 athlete ambassadors, including accomplished individuals like Mariah Williams, a Hockeyroo and two-time Olympian, and Clarence McCarthy-Grogan, a wheelchair basketball player for the Australian Rollers.

Bianca Broadhurst, the AIS Diversity, People, and Culture Executive General Manager, highlights the significance of connection and belonging for athletes to thrive at their best. The SaY program provides a safe and respectful space for First Nations athletes to come together, share their stories, and strengthen their support networks across the sports world with the guidance of First Nations mentors and non-Indigenous allies.

As a SaY mentor, Ben Austin OAM, one of Australia's most decorated Para-swimmers and a three-time Paralympian, aims to use his experience to guide mentees through their cultural and athletic journey. Tahlia Taylor-Kickett, another mentor and Proud Noongar woman, emphasizes the importance of keeping the athletes culturally strong, grounded, and safe while prioritizing their sporting careers.

The 2023 cohort will partake in online mentoring sessions before gathering at the AIS in Canberra later this year for a cultural camp. This exceptional program promises to uplift and empower First Nations athletes, fostering a sense of connection, growth, and cultural identity. Follow the link to discover more about the SaY program and its 2023 cohort.

AIS SaY 2023 Athlete Ambassadors:

  • Aaleya Turner, Kaurna - Netball

  • Abbey Connor, Manildra - Swimming

  • Amanda Reid, Wemba-Wemba and Guringai - Cycling and Snow Sport

  • Bianca Crisp, Wiradjuri - Swimming

  • Bronte Stewart, Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi - Cycling

  • Calab Law, Wakka Wakka - Athletics

  • Clarence McCarthy-Grogan, Yanyuwa, Garrawa and Kuku Yalanji - Basketball

  • Emilia Murray, Yorta Yorta and Dhudhuroa - Football

  • Emily Watts, Wiradjuri - Cycling

  • Mariah Williams, Wiradjuri - Hockey

  • Marissa Williamson Pohlman, Ngarrindjeri - Boxing

  • Ruby Storm, Wiradjuri - Swimming

  • Sarah Haywood - Archery

  • Tay-Leiha Clark, Worimi and Wannarua - Athletics

  • Tomysha Clark, Worimi and Wannarua - Athletics

  • Tyler Puzicha, Wurundjeri - Cycling

AIS SaY 2023 Mentors:

  • Ben Austin - Swimming

  • Brad Hore - Boxing

  • Danny Morseu - Basketball

  • Jacara Egan - AFL

  • Jess Skinner - Rugby League

  • Kyle Vander Kuyp - Athletics

  • Patrick Johnson - Athletics

  • Tahlia Taylor-Kickett - Football

  • Tanisha Williams - Multiple

  • Tyrone Bean – AFL

AIS SaY 2023 Allies:

  • Alex Rossi

  • Breeana Walker

  • Jamie-Lee Price

  • Marina Carrier

  • Nic Kyriazis

  • Sally Phillips

  • Trevor Hirth

Read the full article here.

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