Victorian track sprinter Alessia McCaig has been recognised for her stellar rise through the track sprinting ranks with a 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship.
McCaig was announced by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) as one of six recipients of a Tier 1 Scholarship Holder Scholarship and Mentoring Program for 2022. McCaig will receive financial support and mentorship from Olympic champion diver Matthew Mitcham OAM.
The nation's leading sports scholarship program, which is supported by Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport, awards 32 scholarships and $150,000 in funding to future stars to support them in their quest for excellence and success on the world stage.
At the age of nine, McCaig, now 18, began her cycling journey at the Bendigo and District Cycling Club after being influenced by her extended family's deep roots in the sport. She took her first pedal strokes on a hand me down bike obtained after her older brother grew out of his bike.
Since 2018, Alessia has built an enviable trophy cabinet, including dual Champion of Champions at the Junior Track National Championships, dual Under 19 and Elite National titles, while also setting a host of Australian records.
"I am extremely honoured and grateful to have received a Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship," said McCaig. "To be recognised by such a prestigious organisation is so unique and makes me very proud to be an athlete.
"The one-on-one mentoring that I receive through this scholarship will be invaluable and give me insight into what I may encounter in the future.
"Also, learning and speaking to someone like Matthew Mitcham that is outside my direct support system right at this moment, will be extremely useful, and help me to strive to achieve my goals."
Mentor Matthew Mitcham OAM is excited to be able to share his experiences with the rising star.
"I will be mentoring Alessia McCaig, track cyclist - superstar – and I am super excited about that because it's just going to be really interesting just seeing how my experiences will map on to a completely different sport and to see how the mental side of performance, it really can be universal
"Alessia and I have already connected, and we do have a lot in common, we get along really well and I feel like this is going to be a very strong bond that is going to be very helpful for her and me," said Mitcham.
AusCycling Chief Executive Officer Marne Fechner paid tribute to McCaig's hard work and dedication.
"Congratulations to Alessia on being awarded a 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of Alessia and wonderful to have cycling represented.
"The scholarship will provide much needed financial support and the mentorship component for Alessia, who has been partnered with Diving great, Matthew Mitcham, will be invaluable.
"We wish Alessia the very best and thank the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for supporting our emerging athletes to continue to chase their sporting dreams," said Fechner.
The SAHOF Scholarship and Mentoring Program comprises three tiers. Tier 1 recipients recognising six young athletes from the sports of Sailing, Athletics, Cycling, Wakeboarding, Equestrian and Skiing were revealed today.
More information at sahof.org.au/scholarships