Hon­our­ing a cham­pion swim­mer taken too soon

SCHOL­AR­SHIP LEGACY FOR MA­NIAH BETHAM

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Danielle Jarvis How badly does the sta­tion need an up­grade? @the­druitt

ST Marys Rip­ples Swimming Cen­tre has hon­oured cham­pion Ma­niah Betham with a spe­cial schol­ar­ship.

The an­nual Ma­niah Betham Squad Schol­ar­ship aims to sup­port dili­gent and ded­i­cated squad swim­mers by sub­si­dis­ing the cost of one year’s squad fees at Rip­ples Swimming Cen­tres.

Ma­niah died last year of a heart con­di­tion called sud­den ar­rhyth­mic death while play­ing bas­ket­ball at his church youth group. Be­fore his death, the 15-year-old Minch­in­bury res­i­dent was a record-break­ing cham­pion in swimming, ath­let­ics and rugby league.

Rip­ples pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor Ta­nia Weather­ley said the schol­ar­ship was a way for the club to hon­our Ma­niah’s mem­ory. “He was such an in­te­gral mem­ber of our squads team,” she said.

“We felt that we wanted to do some­thing that hon­oured what he achieved in­side and out­side the wa­ter.”

Ma­niah’s fa­ther Cu­bitt Betham said the fam­ily was moved by the hon­our.

“We are so happy that the cri­te­ria to win the Ma­niah Betham schol­ar­ship re­flect his qual­i­ties and char­ac­ter­is­tics,” Mr Betham said.

“He lived as an out­stand­ing cham­pion in the pool but more im­por­tantly he was a cham­pion out­side the pool in the way he lifted, en­cour­aged and loved oth­ers.”

Mr Betham said his son would have been hum­bled to have a schol­ar­ship in his name. “Ma­niah was a very hum­ble boy never want­ing the name brands, latest gad­gets or be seen in the in crowd. He found hap­pi­ness through mak­ing oth­ers happy.”

The schol­ar­ship is val­ued up to $1560 to­wards fees at Rip­ples Swimming Cen­tres.

Joshua Auld, 12, is the first to win the schol­ar­ship and said he hoped to make his first na­tional team.

“My aim is to qual­ify for both the 100m and 200m breast­stroke,” Joshua said.

Mr Betham said Joshua was a wor­thy re­cip­i­ent.

“His drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion in the pool are com­ple­mented by the ex­em­plary way he treats his coach, fel­low squad and com­peti­tors out­side the pool.” AF­TER more than a decade of cam­paign­ing, Rooty Hill train sta­tion has been ear­marked for a mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar up­grade to in­clude a lift and a com­muter carpark.

While the news was wel­comed by com­muters, Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment has been met with scep­ti­cism from Mt Druitt MP Ed­mond Atalla. “This is fan­tas­tic news for res­i­dents, if this means it is ac­tu­ally go­ing to hap­pen,” Mr Atalla said.

“I welcome the an­nounce­ment. It’s timely given my re­cent re­lease crit­i­cis­ing the fact there was no fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion in the Bud­get for this up­grade.”

Mr Atalla ques­tioned the lack of de­tail in the an­nounce­ment. No time frame has been re­leased.

“The lack of fund­ing de­tails and the fact the an­nounce­ment was made by the Lib­eral leader (Mul­goa MP Tanya Davies) for a neigh­bour­ing elec­torate and not the premier or rel­e­vant min­is­ter is the rea­son I’m not so sure,” Mr Atalla said.

“If the Premier is truly com­mit­ted to this an­nounce­ment, I say put sub­stance to it with fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion.”

On Fri­day, Mrs Davies said the work would be done as part of the NSW Gov­ern­ment’s Trans­port Ac­cess Pro­gram, an ini­tia­tive to de­liver ac­ces­si­ble, mod­ern and in­te­grated in­fra­struc­ture.

“It still has to go out to ten­der,” Mrs Davies said.

She said she was seek­ing more de­tails on time frames.

Pic­ture: CARMELA ROCHE

Dy­lan and Cu­bitt Betham, Ma­niah Betham Squad Schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent Joshua Auld and Mer­ril Betham, and Ma­niah (inset).

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