Amit Balgi named as 2014 Bradman Scholar

From left former Bradman Scholar David Miller, Bradman Foundation Director Hon, John Howard, Amit Balgi, Bradman Foundation Chairman Maurice Newmansmall

From left: Former Bradman Scholar David Miller, Bradman Foundation Director Hon, John Howard, Amit Balgi, Bradman Foundation Chairman Maurice Newman

Wollongong cricketer Amit Balgi has beaten 60 other applicants from around Australia to be named the 2014 Bradman scholar.

Mr Balgi will receive an allowance of $5,000 a year for a maximum of three years to assist with tertiary study expenses. He is currently studying for a Bachelor of Dental Science at Charles Sturt University, after completing a Bachelor of Health at University of Wollongong.

The Bradman scholar is selected against criteria that place particular emphasis on a demonstrated balance between sporting ability, educational excellence, and community involvement. The final selection was made by a panel comprising Bradman Foundation Chairman Dr Maurice Newman AC, the Hon John Howard OM AC, Bradman Foundation Executive Director, Ms Rina Hore and 2008 Bradman Scholar Mr David Miller.

Mr Balgi’s cricketing achievements are substantial: over his 18 career he has represented Illawarra Cricket, Emerging NSW Blues, Country Cricket, NSW Schools Country and 1st grade in the Illawarra and Orange. He says a highlight of his career so far was twice being selected to play in the Stumping Serious Diseases Charity match, playing alongside Adam Gilchrist, Viv Richards and Brian Lara.

“On top of his cricketing achievements, Amit has been consistently involved with community organisations and charity work in the Illawrra, including St John’s Ambulance, Vision Australia, Lifeline and the Indian Australian Cultural Association. He has also travelled to India as part of a program to help the less fortunate,” Ms Hore said.

“He certainly embodies the leadership qualities and values espoused by Sir Donald Bradman such as dignity, integrity, ambition, determination and modesty.”

Mr Balgi said he applied for the scholarship because he admired Sir Donald Bradman as a person.

“He was not just Australia’s greatest ever sportsmen. I never saw him play, but I remember seeing and watching a lot of interviews with him as he grew older, and he always struck me as a very ”˜complete’ person, a very humble individual, someone who loved the game and its culture,” Mr Balgi said.

Mr Balgi said that the qualities he has learned through cricket can be translated to my career as a dentist and vice versa.

“Cricket is a versatile game, and I love the fact that it’s shaped the kind of person I’ve become and allowed me to use it as an outlet from studies and exams. I owe everything to cricket, for the people I’ve met, for the friends I’ve made, experiences, achievements etc,” he said.

However a Bradman Scholar must demonstrate much more than sporting skills. Mr Balgi is also very involved in his community.

“I’m most passionate about rural health, hence why I’m doing dentistry at CSU in Orange, which has a large focus on rural health. My motivation stems from the knowledge I’ve gained from being involved in rural health clubs and alike, and knowing that there is such an inequality to resources in the country compared to metro areas”¦it makes you want to do something and help.”

Mr Balgi was presented with his award by Maurice Newman at the Chairman’s Lunch last Sunday April 27 at the Bradman Centre before a crowd including Alan Davidson AM MBE, Brian Booth MBE, Ian Craig OAM, Bob Dwyer AM and Simon Taufel.

“As a Bradman scholar, my role is to uphold the legacy that Sir Donald Bradman had left. To be the kind of person Bradman was, to be a role model in all aspects of life,” Mr Balgi said.

“And I also think I have a role in promoting cricket in the community, and showing that it doesn’t always have to be one or the other”¦you can study a demanding degree and also play a high level of cricket, and from this learn a great deal about yourself and let the game shape you in to a honorable person.”

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