Congratulations Luis Il-Sung Melander and Jennifer Williams, winners of svexa’s Eva Hedberg scholarship for artistic sports

We are pleased to announce that Luis Il-Sung Melander and Jennifer Williams have been awarded the Eva Hedberg Scholarship for Artistic Sports. Previous winners include gymnast Alva Svennbeck and diver Emilia Nilsson Garip. The scholarship was awarded based on athletic merit, potential, curiosity, and drive. Luis receives a 2023 and Jennifer a 2024 scholarship of SEK 11,500 each plus the corresponding value in optional training assistance from svexa.

Luis Il-Sung Melander

As a junior, Luis established himself among the world’s top elite with, among other things, gold in the Youth Olympics and Junior World Championships. He has already taken the tough step into senior level  competition, representing Sweden in both the European Championship and the World Cup. Luis was recently accepted into the Swedish Olympic Committee’s Top & Talent Program, setting his sights on the Olympics in 2028. With this scholarship, we hope to further contribute to Luis’ development and potential to achieve great success at senior championships in the future.

Luis says “The scholarship money will be a big help, as every penny is needed. In addition, getting the opportunity for extra support from experts in sports and science is a fantastic opportunity for my development. I’m excited to examine my sleep and energy in relation to training, and improve things like my strength testing as a ring gymnast!”

Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams competes on Floor Exercise during the Women’s Qualifications on Day Three of the 2023 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on October 02, 2023 in Antwerp, Belgium. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Since early in her career, Jennifer has shown great potential and willpower. She has demonstrated great will and drive by working her way back to gymnastics and competing after a long period of injury problems. This winter she has really shown that she is back in full force. In her first World Cup final on beam, she finished 6th in Cottbus, Germany, in February. She then followed that up with a 4th place on bars at the World Cup in Baku in March.

As Jennifer says, “I have high school studies and training at least 25 hours per week. In addition, I live in Stockholm and train and study in Eskilstuna, so the scholarship is a great help in my efforts towards upcoming championships. It also means additional support in training, which is much appreciated!”

Nils Hedberg – Chairman of the Jury adds: “Both Luis and Jennifer have fought through challenges to achieve great success already early in their sporting careers. They show incredible drive, tenacity, willingness to try new training approaches and fight for their goals. We hope that the scholarship will support them both as they push for success at major international championships.”

Huge congratulations to both!

Eva Hedberg gymnastics

Eva Hedberg was an elite rhythmic gymnast who won the first three Swedish championships in the discipline and competed in several world championships. Her later work was devoted to education, especially for future teachers in sports, health and special education. In her memory and in her spirit, in 2020 Svexa established the Eva Hedberg scholarship for artistic sports.

Both during her own active career and many years thereafter, Eva was a driving force in the development of the sport in Sweden. Throughout her life, she was active and curious about new opportunities, an important trait for being able to succeed in elite sports. The activities ranged from tennis and golf to cross-country skiing and long-distance skating. She also started rock climbing – as a 73-year-old!

By passing on her knowledge, she strived to improve the conditions for the next generation. She did so at an elite level and has been awarded the prize Best Educator of the Year from Uppsala University.

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