To ensure the legacy that Yvette Williams has given to sport in New Zealand continues, the NZOC will award a Yvette Williams Scholarship to an athlete or athletes that demonstrates the same qualities as Yvette displayed as an athlete - hard work and determination - to excel in their chosen sporting field. In Yvette’s honour, athletes will have the opportunity to be supported in their quest for Commonwealth or Olympic Gold for New Zealand.
The Scholarship will be awarded to an athlete (who may participate at the Games in an individual event, or as part of a team) or athletes (in a pair, crew or double) and may be used to fund equipment or ongoing training, competition and games preparation costs. Funding may be applied for on an annual or multi-year basis (at the discretion of the NZOC) leading into the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games or the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The over-riding criteria is that the Scholarship will assist the athlete or athletes to win a medal or be successful at the upcoming Commonwealth or Olympic Games; with the emphasis on the prospect of winning a medal.
In 2015 and 2016, the Yvette Williams Scholarship was awarded to Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders, the Nacra 17 pair who came 4th place in their first Olympic Games at Rio 2016. Jason and Gemma said of the scholarship:
Leading up to Rio, Gemma and I were in need of purchasing some new gear for our boat for the next stage of our testing program. For us, receiving the Yvette Williams scholarship was a big deal because we could buy the sails and equipment we needed and managed to select the best equipment for the Olympic Games. This is very important in our boat as there are big variations in the sails especially and it is important to find the best ones for our style of sailing.
We were also lucky enough to go and visit Sir Owen Glenn in London and got a great insight into who he was and to say a personal thank you. We were very honoured to have received the Yvette Williams scholarship and wish future recipients all the best with their campaigns. Jason Saunders
We were fortunate enough to receive support from the scholarship for 2015 and 2016 which allowed us to purchase the necessary equipment for racing in the regattas we competed in during our build up towards the Games. We raced knowing our sails were new and they weren't something we could use as an excuse in our minds if we didn't perform to expectations. This allowed us to totally maximise our training schedule and work on what would really make a difference to our results and not be distracted with "other" stuff. Gemma Jones
2017/2018's recipient of the Yvette Williams Scholarship was upcoming pole vaulter Nick Southgate.
In 2019, the Scholarship was awarded to weightlifter, David Liti. David won a gold medal in the +105kg weightlifting event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. At the Games closing ceremony, David was presented with the David Dixon Award shown toward an injured weightlifting rival.
The Scholarship is designed to help David in build his Tokyo 2020 campaign over the 2019 - 2020 period.
The next Yvette Williams Scholarship will be awarded in late 2020.