Riley Day is an Olympic sprinter who was awarded a Scholarship within the 2018 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and was paired with one of Australia’s best ever water polo players, Debbie Watson, as her Mentor.
Riley was born in Beaudesert, Queensland, in 2000, and started running competitively at her local Little Athletics club as a nine-year-old. Eight years later she became the youngest Australian to compete in an individual event at a World Championship, and was the youngest female competitor overall at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
Riley specialises in the 100m and 200m events and made her mark at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017. Racing in Nassau, she won gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m, and helped the Mixed 4 x 100m relay team to top spot on the podium. Her rich vein of form continued that year and she took gold in her pet events at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships, as well as delighting crowds at the Nitro Athletics series.
The following year, Riley became the youngest female to win the 100m and 200m at the national open championships. Her personal best time of 22.93 ranked her number three in Australia all time, behind the medal winning performances of Raelene Boyle and Jenny Lamy at the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968.
She then and followed this with a finals appearance in the 200m at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and reached the pinnacle of her career when she competed at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games in the 200m.
Riley spoke on being selected as a 2018 Scholarship Holder: “Receiving the Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship is a shock and an amazing surprise. To be chosen out of all of the very deserving applicants is an absolute honour. I am very grateful to receive this scholarship and will embrace every opportunity so that it enables me to further my career. I’d like to hear about her (Watson’s) greatest achievements and challenges and what she had to do to overcome them.”
Honours & Achievements
- 2017: Australian Junior Athletics Championships – 100m gold (11.59sec)
- 2017: Australian Junior Athletics Championships – 200m gold (23.26sec)
- 2017: Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – 200m gold (23.42sec)
- 2017: Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – 100m silver (11.59sec)
- 2017: Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – Mixed 4 x 100m relay gold
- 2017: IAAF World Championships – 200m 7th (heat; 23.77sec)
- 2017: IAAF World Championships, aged 17, Day became the youngest Australian 100m/200m athlete (at that time) to compete in an individual event in the history of the championships and also the youngest female competitor overall in the championships.
- 2018: Gold Coast Commonwealth Games – 200m 9th (23.24sec)
- 2018: Australian Championships – 200m gold (22.93sec)
- 2018: Australian Championships – 100m gold (11.52sec)
- 2018: Inaugural Betty Cuthbert Medal
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Olympic Games – 200m 12th (22.56sec)