An Indian-origin Australian University student has been compared with the cricketing great Don Bradman after being named the Bradman Scholar for this year, media reported Wednesday.
Amit Balgi, 23, a third-year dental science student of Charles Sturt University (CSU) in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), outclassed 60 applicants from across Australia to claim an annual scholarship of A$5,000 (around $4,670) given by the Bradman Foundation, that will fund his education expenses for the next three years, the Central Western Daily reported Wednesday.
“I always knew it was going to be tough to get in the top 10, but I just thought I would apply,” the report quoted Balgi as saying.
“I love cricket and I admire Don Bradman so much that I thought I’d put everything down and see where it took me and I was lucky enough to be selected,” Balgi added.
The Bradman Scholarship selection criteria required candidates to demonstrate a balance of sporting ability, educational excellence and community involvement.
The final selection was made by a panel comprising Bradman Foundation chairman Maurice Newman, former Australian prime minister John Howard, the foundation’s executive director, Rina Hore and 2008 Bradman Scholar David Miller.
Balgi said Howard encouraged him to study hard and keep playing cricket at the same time.
“I felt so privileged to meet him because he’s given so much for Australia, so much for cricket and so much for the dental school at CSU as well,” Balgi said.
Commenting on the Balgi’s well rounded personality, Rina Hore said Balgi had been consistently involved in community organisations and charity work, including St John Ambulance, Vision Australia, Lifeline and the Indian Australian Cultural Association, and even 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,” Hore said.
Balgi has also completed a bachelor of health degree from Wollongong, a place where he played most of his cricket in University of Wollongong’s first-grade team.
In the past years, he has represented the Emerging NSW Blues, Country Cricket and NSW Schools Country.