CHARLES Sturt University (CSU) student and keen cricketer Amit Balgi has been compared with the great Don Bradman after being named the 2014 Bradman Scholar.
“I always knew it was going to be tough to get in the top 10, but I just thought I’d apply,” Mr Balgi said.
“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.”
The 23-year-old beat 60 applicants to claim the scholarship.
In his third-year of a Bachelor of Dental Science degree at CSU, Mr Balgi will receive $5000 annually for up to three years to put towards education expenses.
Raised in Wollongong, he has played most of his cricket for the University of Wollongong’s first-grade team, where he completed a Bachelor of Health, and he has represented the Emerging NSW Blues, Country Cricket and NSW Schools Country.
But Mr Balgi has also played some games for Orange CYMS and said he wanted to practice dentistry in Orange once he graduated.
“I always wanted to work rurally and I got this opportunity to call Orange home,” he said.
“Now I’ve gotten accustomed to the way of life here, so it’s something I’d love to do.”
The Bradman scholarship selection criteria required candidates to demonstrate a balance of sporting ability, educational excellence and community involvement.
Former prime minister John Howard is on the selection panel.
“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,” Mr Balgi said.
“He told me to keep working hard, put my head down and get through my studies, but also to take time out to keep playing cricket, and he said it was possible to do both.”
Bradman Foundation executive director Rina Hore said Mr 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,” she said.