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Gary Knoke was one of Australia’s finest track and field athletes who has multiple Australian Championships to his name and has also represented his country at three Olympic and four Commonwealth Games in the 400m hurdles. 

The Gary Knoke Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 1986 to honour the memory of the late Gary Knoke, the first track and field coach at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). 

Gary made a significant contribution to the AIS program and provided support to many of Australia’s elite and developing athletes before he lost his battle with cancer in 1984. 

The Gary Knoke Trust was set up through donations made by the former ‘Friends of the AIS’ program, which received significant support from both individuals and corporations. 

Historically, the scholarship was awarded to a young Australian athlete who showed great potential in hurdle events, with the exception being Kelsey-Lee Barber in 2014, who was identified through consultation with Athletics Australia High Performance.

The scholarship's aim is to provide support for a hurdler to help achieve their athletic potential. Direct financial assistance is given to an emerging athlete, awarded every two years to a young developing or elite hurdler.

Scholarship Criteria:

As endorsed by Ashley Knoke [Gary's son], the Scholarship is to be awarded to:

  1. A young or emerging hurdler with the potential to break through to international level.
  2. Of the age of at least 18 years in the year of application; and
  3. Who is eligible to represent Australia internationally; and
  4. Not receiving NASS at time of award.

The Scholarship will:

  • be selected and managed by the Special Awards Committee of Athletics Australia;
  • comprise a payment of $2000 to the recipient;
  • be presented as part of Athletics Australia’s existing awards; and
  • involve the Knoke family, when available, to be involved in each presentation.

Applications close on 11:59 PM AEST Friday, July 5. 

Apply Here | More Information




Ron Clarke was truly a “renaissance man”. His lifetime achievements include being a successful businessman, an environmental crusader, Mayor of the Gold Coast for eight years, a philanthropist and a devoted family man.

The aim of the scholarship is to provide support for a middle distance/distance athlete to achieve their athletic and educational potential. The recipient will be expected to uphold those values demonstrated by Ron over his life: commitment to his athletic career, his education and his subsequent working life; support of the athletics community; and dedication to his family and other important relationships. 

Funding and Associated Obligations

The Athletics International Trust has allocated up to $7,000 each year for this scholarship. The AI Awards Committee will oversee the awarding of the scholarship payments. The successful athlete will receive $3,500 at the start of the first semester of study of their scholarship period. The Ron Clarke Scholarship holder will receive a second $3,500 at the start of the second semester, following receipt by the AI Awards Committee of:

  • Evidence of successful completion of the requirements of the first semester; and
  • A progress report on how the Scholarship has assisted the holder to progress both their educational and athletic goals.

At the completion of the scholarship period, the Ron Clarke Scholarship holder must:

  • Provide to AI a final report indicating how the $7,000 assisted them to progress in their education of choice and their athletic career.
  • The Scholarship holder will, where practical, be asked to give a short presentation at an AI function on their progress over the past year, and aspirations for the future.