Hundreds of Australia’s future sporting champions will descend on the Illawarra in less than a fortnight, when the region hosts the ClubsNSW Academy Games for the third and final time.
The Games will be held at venues in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands over the weekend of 12-13 April, with athletes showcasing their skills across seven sports.
Regional Academies of Sport competing at the event are:
• Central Coast Academy of Sport
• Far West Academy of Sport
• Hunter Academy of Sport
• Illawarra Academy of Sport
• North Coast Academy of Sport
• Northern Inland Academy of Sport
• South East Regional Academy of Sport
• Southern Sports Academy
• South West Sydney Academy
• Western Region Academy of Sport
• Western Sydney Academy of Sport
The 90-strong Illawarra squad includes entrants in all Games sports – cycling, golf, lawn bowls, hockey, netball, triathlon and rugby union.
The acting General Manager of the Illawarra Academy, Shannon Fraser, said the 2014 ClubsNSW Academy Games are set to be a highlight of the sporting year, representing the Illawarra’s last chance to host the event before it passes to a new host Academy.
“The Illawarra won the right to host the Games for three years, and we have already staged two hugely successful events in 2012 and 2013,” he said.
“Thanks to our major sponsor, ClubsNSW, and our other great supporters – along with the many volunteers who make the Games possible – we’re again providing an outstanding experience for pre-elite athletes as they prepare for major sporting careers.”
Highlights of the 2014 ClubsNSW Academy Games program include:
• Triathlon events at Wollongong Harbour and Port Kembla
• Cycling teams events, road races and criterium around Bowral
• Hotly contested netball at the UOW Sports Hub, featuring a guest side from New Zealand
• Golf at The Links Shell Cove and Kiama Golf Club
• Hockey action at Unanderra Hockey Stadium
• Lawn bowls at Bomaderry Bowling Club
• Rugby Union at the University of Wollongong
Regional Academies of Sport provide young athletes with expert training and education to help them reach elite level. Many of Australia’s sporting champions have gone through an academy program.
"We’re going to see future sports stars on the national and world stage competing here at the Games and we’re looking forward to a great weekend of competition,” Shannon said.
“Spectators are welcome at Games venues, and we encourage people to come along and cheer on our local and visiting athletes.”