Local push for sport academy
MOVES are afoot to try to establish a Regional Sports Academy network to support and nurture some of the North East and Goulburn Valley’s most talented young sportsmen and women.
Regional Sports Assemblies Sport North East ( northern Hume region) and Valley Sports (central and southern Hume region) met with Wangaratta state MP and Shadow Minister for Sport, Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) last week to put the need for an academy in the Hume region on the agenda for the next Victorian state election.
The Hume region remains the only one in the state that doesn’t have a sports academy that supports emerging high performance athletes in regional areas to reach their potential and represent their sport on a state, national and international stage.
Wangaratta-based Sport North East spokesperson Felicity Williams - chief executive officer of The Centre for Continuing Education - said the absence of an academy in the Hume region means that many talented athletes who live locally are severely disadvantaged in their goals to achieve elite success as they either have to travel large distances or relocate to access specialised coaching, training and high performance sports programs.
“The establishment of academy structures in the Hume region will address this disadvantage by providing aspiring athletes with local access to high performance services, development pathways, qualified coaches and support services,” she said.
“It will also provide development opportunities for local coaches, officials and administrators, resulting in sector development across the region.
“The academy will benefit athletes through provision of training and competition, strength and conditioning, performance testing and evaluation and athlete education.
“It will support regional coaches, officials and administrators to be active at the elite level through networking and mentoring, and elite coach education and development in a range of areas including sports science support, nutrition, injury and recovery practices, training load management and athlete monitoring.”
Ms Williams said the academy will link with existing and proposed elite sport initiatives of State Sporting Associations and the Victorian Institute of Sport to develop pathways for talented athletes from this region, centred around the main cities of Wangaratta, Wodonga and Shepparton.
Mr McCurdy told North East Media that he was keen to actively work with local representatives on the issue.
“We still need to gather quite a bit more detail, but I have become acutely aware of the disadvantage our young athletes and their families experience through lack of local elite athlete support,” he said.
“For some families, the commitment to travel to Melbourne several times a week and/or relocate is just too big a sacrifice and many of our young people with huge potential have to put their sporting dreams aside.”