In what has been defined as a significant investment in Australia’s Future Sporting Champions, the NSW State Government, through the Office of Sport, has confirmed funding over the next three years for the NSW Regional Academies of Sport (RAS).
The funds will be used for talent identification in regional NSW as a first step before placing those recognised young athletes into quality pre-elite programs managed in their home region. This State wide initiative gives prospective future champions the chance to develop and train at home, connecting these young people with quality coaching and high-performance support resources without the necessity of leaving their supportive local communities.
The funding comes 10 years out from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, and recognises the NSW RAS network as a breeding ground for our country’s future Olympic Champions. Considered by some as one of the most successful junior sporting talent programs in Australia, the network can boast that 59 past athletes have gone on to represent their country in the past two Olympic and Paralympic Games cycles. Those being Tokyo and Rio De Janeiro. Further to that impressive statistic, these Academy Alumni went on to win 31% of our Nation’s medal haul.
Western Sydney Academy CEO Martin Bullock commented that he was very pleased with the level of financial support provided by the NSW Government.
“We know the average Olympian that competes is aged between 24 and 26, and looking forward to Brisbane 2032 we know that our athlete cohort is primarily aged 14 to 16, therefore it makes sense to invest in the young sporting generation in regional NSW right now” he stated.
“The NSW Office of Sport has long been a valued supporter of the RAS network and right now is the correct time for investing in our Future Champions. We are Bound for Brisbane 2032”.
Other benefits of the funding will be used in partnerships with State Sporting Organisations and the NSW Institute of Sport and will allow for important research projects and coach development programs across the state.
There will also be inclusive Talent Identification programs concentrating on under-represented groups in regional NSW. These specifically designed talent ID days will be focusing on finding more participants in the high performance pathway from Aboriginal backgrounds, multi-cultural communities, disabled and disadvantaged families in regional NSW, and at the same time build on the capacity for regional youth leadership.
Martin Bullock added “not only is the Academy of Sport system within NSW proud of the number of quality athletes it produces, our investment in developing young people is probably our highest priority. We believe we are playing a strong part in creating job ready, mentally resilient people. Our aim is to support the future generations to lead a healthy lifestyle that ultimately shapes our country.”
The next 10 years will be exciting to see the talent develop from regional NSW, and this funding will provide a launching pad for success and confirm the Regional Academies of Sport as the leaders in pre-elite multi-sport programs.