The South West Academy of Sport could be the launching pad for the next Adam Hunter, after Australian Rules football was named as one of four inaugural sports to benefit from the exciting initiative.
South-West Minister Mark McGowan today named Australian Rules football, soccer, hockey and basketball as the sporting codes the academy will partner in its first year of operation.
“The academy will provide talented athletes in four sports with the training they require to follow their dreams of competing at the next level without leaving home,” Mr McGowan said.
“Traditionally, young people from the South-West pursuing a career in sport would have been forced to spend an enormous amount of time travelling between Perth and their home town, placing considerable strain on families.
“The South West Academy of Sport has been designed so participants can benefit from an elite level of coaching and education without leaving their support network in the South-West.
“It will be based at Bunbury’s South West Sports Centre but will offer training throughout the region.”
The Minister also announced The Griffin Group as the foundation partner for the academy, together with associate sponsors Worsley Alumina and media partners WIN Television and South Western Times.
“It’s great that local companies and businesses have contributed the extra funding for such a unique and exciting initiative for local athletes,” Mr McGowan said.
Group executive director of The Griffin Group, Jason Stowe, said the South West Academy of Sport was a great example of the spirit of The Griffin Group Corporate Community Partnership Program, which supported local projects that delivered significant benefits to the local community.
“The academy is a fantastic program designed specifically for the South-West,” Mr Stowe said.
“Griffin is proud to play its part in making the academy a reality for the local community.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the South-West, Collie-Wellington MLA Mick Murray said the academy would play a crucial role in boosting opportunities for sport in the region.
“The project had been well received by Western Australian sports authorities who see great possibilities for participants in the partner sports programs,” Mr Murray said.
“They have signalled the academy could provide the springboard for a number of promising projects, including the development of South-West teams participating in the annual WAFL 15s and 16s development carnivals.”
Mr Murray said talented athletes who were not catered for in the initial partner sports programs had not been forgotten.
“The South West Academy of Sport is about giving young people the opportunity to pursue their dreams, regardless of their chosen sport,” Mr Murray said.
South-West MLC Adele Farina said the academy will offer up to 50 scholarships each year to talented people in a variety of sports so as many people as possible can strive towards their goals.
“It provides a real opportunity to regional youth to help them achieve their goals of representing their State and country,” Ms Farina said.
The launch in Bunbury, also attended by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Sport and Recreation Peter Watson MLA, marks the culmination of more than 12 months of planning by a board of South-West community leaders.
The idea for the South West Academy of Sport originated with South West Chamber of Commerce and Industry inaugural chief executive Rolf Stene who asked renowned sporting identity the late Wally Foreman to develop a feasibility plan for the concept.
The State Government and South West Development Commission have so far committed almost $250,000 toward the South West Academy of Sport, which has secured Bunbury identity Ern Manea as patron and Boomers star Mark Worthington as basketball patron.
Minister's office - 9222 9111