Wollongong's Amit Balgi named 2014 Bradman Scholar

CRICKET

Wollongong cricketer Amit Balgi never thought he would be mentioned in the same sentence as Don Bradman.

Former Bradman scholar David Miller, Bradman Foundation director John Howard, scholarship winner Amit Balgi and foundation chairman Maurice Newman.

Former Bradman scholar David Miller, Bradman Foundation director John Howard, scholarship winner Amit Balgi and foundation chairman Maurice Newman.

But he will forever be linked to the cricketing great after being named the 2014 Bradman Scholar.

"Just being able to submit an application and get into the top 10, and then down to the top three, I couldn't believe it," Balgi said.

"When I found out I had to sit down and take a moment to take it in, because it really wasn't expected."

Balgi beat 60 applicants to claim the coveted scholarship.

A dental science student at Charles Sturt University, he will receive $5000 annually for the next three years to assist with education expenses.

Balgi has already completed a bachelor of health at Wollongong University.

He is conscious of being a worthy scholarship recipient.

"Finding out felt surreal, like something I could've never imagined," he said.

"I applied for the scholarship because I respect and admire Don Bradman so much, and I want to be able to emulate the person he was on and off the field.

"He was not just Australia's greatest ever sportsman. I never saw him play, but I remember 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."

The Bradman scholarship selection criteria requires candidates to demonstrate a balance of "sporting ability, educational excellence, and community involvement".

Former prime minister John Howard is on the selection panel.

Balgi was a standout for the Wollongong Uni side which lost last month's Illawarra grand final to Keira.

In past years he has represented Illawarra, Emerging NSW Blues, Country Cricket and NSW Schools Country.

"On top of his cricketing achievements, Amit has been consistently involved with community organisations and charity work," Bradman Foundation executive director Rina Hore said.

"He has also travelled to India to help the less fortunate. He certainly embodies the leadership qualities and values espoused by Sir Donald Bradman such as dignity, integrity, ambition, determination and modesty."

Balgi said cricket would always be in his blood.

"It's a versatile game and I love the fact that it's shaped the person I've become and allowed me to use it as an outlet from studies and exams," he said.

"I owe everything to cricket, for the people I've met and friends I've made."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop