Beaudesert high school student Riley Day has already run against dual world record holder Usain Bolt and the reigning world 200m champion Dafne Schippers in her track career.
The 17-year-old (30 March 2000) from Beaudesert in Queensland was the star of Nitro Athletics earlier in the year and recently made her senior debut in the 200m heats at the world championships in London.
As the country’s brightest young star in athletics Day will be part of the 2018 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program that will provide support and funding for five of Australia’s brightest young sports stars.
Day will be mentored by Debbie Watson OAM who is considered Australia’s best ever female water polo player and won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
“Receiving the Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship is a shock and an amazing surprise,” Day said.
“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.”
At such a young age Day’s personal bests of 11.59 sec over 100m and 23.26 for her favoured 200m are world-class, which was highlighted with a silver and gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
She competed at the world championships in London running in the heats of the 200m in the lane next to the reigning champion Dafne Shippers who went on to defend her title.
Earlier in the year (2017), the star from Nitro Athletics who took on Usain Bolt in the mixed relay at Albert Park.
Riley made history with sprint double at the 2018 Australian championships.
Day was being hailed as the youngest woman to win the 100m-200m double at the Australian championships in February 2018, after confirming her place in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Australian team by winning the 200m in a personal best of 22.93sec.
That time, run into a stiff 1.7m/sec headwind, puts her in illustrious company. Only two other Australian junior women have run faster, SAHOF Legend Raelene Boyle (22.74sec) and Jenny Lamy (22.88sec), and they ran those times at altitude to win the silver and bronze medals at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.
Day also won the inaugural Betty Cuthbert Medal following the Championships.
The medal, which honours the legendary four-time Olympic sprint gold medallist and SAHOF Legend, who died last year aged 79, will be awarded annually to the athlete who produces the most outstanding performance at the Australian track and field championships.
Day, 17 at the time, did the women’s 100m-200m double at the meet at Carrara Stadium which doubled as the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials and contested the 200m and 4x100m relay at the April 4-15 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.
DOB: 30 March 2000
Education: Nursing at Griffith University, Gold Coast (2018)
Coach: Donna Thomas
Reason for becomming an Athlete: “Mum put me into Little Athletics at age nine to keep me fit. From there, my athletics journey started”
Ritual: Right shoe must go on first and must be wearing her infinity necklace
Results, Honours & Awards
2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games – 200m sprint 9th (23.24sec)
2018 Australian Championships – 200m sprint 1st (22.93sec)
2018 Australian Championships – 100m sprint 1st (11.52sec)
2017 Australian Junior Athletics Championships – 100m sprint Gold (11.59sec)
2017 Australian Junior Athletics Championships – 200m sprint Gold (23.26sec)
2017 Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – 200m sprint Gold (23.42sec)
2017 Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – 100m sprint Silver (11.59sec)
2017 Nassau Commonwealth Youth Games – MIxed 4 x 100m relay Gold
2017 IAAF World Championships – 200m sprint 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.
Mentor: Debbie Watson OAM
Hero: Catherine Freeman OAM