A young Perth sailor will train with an Olympic gold medalist after being awarded a scholarship by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Nia Jerwood, 19, received the grant for the 2018 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program at the recent annual awards dinner.
The Curtin University student was one of five young Australians to win a scholarship.
The scholarship will see Ms Jerwood placed under the mentorship of two-time Olympic women’s hockey gold medalist Liane Tooth.
Ms Tooth was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1996 after representing Australia in four Olympic Games.
Ms Jerwood and teammate Monique De Vries represented Australia and came 13th out of 60 teams in the 470 sailing class at the 2017 world championships in Greece.
The 470 sailing was a World Sailing International Class and has been an Olympic class since 1976.
“I was in university walking out of a lecture when I received the call to tell me I had won,” Ms Jerwood said.
“I’m not sure I realised how big an opportunity this scholarship is, when I first started to fill out the form.
“I am still very excited to have won the opportunity and am working on how I can gain maximum experience from it.”
Ms Tooth said her role in the mentorship was not to offer technical support.
“It’s about sharing experiences and working on things they might need help with, whether it be goal setting or dealing with some sort of disappointment or challenge,” she said.
Ms Tooth said athletes were paired with a mentor from a different sport to give rising stars a different perspective on competing.
Ms Jerwood said she was very excited about the mentorship officially starting.
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to be mentored by Liane,” she said.
“She is not only a very successful athlete having won two gold medals, but has also dedicated a lot of her time to creating greater opportunities for women in sport.
“I believe I have plenty to learn from Liane and am really looking forward to being inspired.”
Ms Jerwood said she fell into sailing through her family’s love of the sport.
She said her siblings were into sailing from a young age and she got bored sitting on the shore waiting for them to come back.
Her parents purchased her first boat when she was 5 years old.
“By the time I was allowed to go, I fell in love with it straight away,” she said.
“My siblings did have to be bribed a little by my parents and grandparents, but I had spent a bit of time onshore when I was too young to go.”
Ms Jerwood competed in the 470 Junior World Championship in Japan on September 2.
She won silver for Australia at the Olympic qualifying event with Monique De Vries.
She said her long-term goal was to keep sailing for Australia and to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.