The Illawarra Academy of Sport will host the ClubsNSW Academy Games for the first time from April 13-15.
The ClubsNSW games will bring together almost 1000 competitors from across New South Wales in seven different sports, including basketball, hockey, rugby union, lawn bowls, netball, golf and, for the first time, cycling.
Illawarra will be joined by academies of Sport representing Western Region, Central Coast, Far West, Hunter, North Coast, Northern Inland, South East, Southern, South-West Sydney and Western-Sydney. For the first time the Gold Coast Academy of Sport will also be participating.
Athletes participating are all aged between thirteen and seventeen, with some sports such as hockey and golf offering both male and female draws.
The ClubsNSW Academy Games will be played in different sporting venues across the Shelharbour and Wollongong councils, to showcase the region. Most of the sports will alternate venues between the competition days, so the athletes get a chance to play in different arenas.
A full list of competitions, venues and times is available from the Illawarra Academy of Sport website at http://www.academygames.com.au/
The general manager of the Illawarra Academy of Sport, Carolyn Dews, said that athletes would all stay together as teams and gain the experience of an athlete style village, like their Olympic idols will in London in August this year.
“It’s all about the participation and being part of the games, she said.
“Athletes can develop socially and make friends and networks with other athletes.”
Ms Dews said that Illawarra Academy of Sport would be hosting the games for the next three years (2012-14).
She said that this followed on the Central Coast (2005-08) and the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (2009-11).
Ms Dews said the Illawarra Academy was excited by the prospect of hosting the games and showcasing the Illawarra’s sporting facilities.
Apart from this, there will also be financial benefits for the Illawarra, with organisers of the Northern Inland Games at Armidale calculating the games brought more than $500,000 into the local economy.
Words: KATE NEALON
Video: SIMON ANDERSON