LOOKING TO TOKYO 2020 - Developing Future Olympians

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games have come to a close, but that does not mean the training has stopped. Talented junior sailors, golfers, hockey players and more are currently training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics here in the Hunter and your child could be too.

The Hunter Academy of Sport is one of eleven sports academies assisting talented junior athletes from regional areas of New South Wales with the goal to identify, develop and educate and give opportunities to athletes through the pathway into elite sport.

Today The Academy boasts a broad program platform encompassing 19 sports (including 14 Olympic sports) with 450 talented young sportspeople taking part in the talent development programs. The overall aim being to identify and develop our next generation of sporting heroes. The recent additions of baseball/softball, surfing, karate, climbing and skateboarding into the 2020 Olympic Games means greater opportunity to Hunter’s elite to qualify for the international competition.

The Academy prides itself on partnerships with national and state-based professional sporting bodies, ensuring all programs complement and feed into the recognised pathways.

The Academy provides advice in areas such as strength and conditioning, leadership, mental health and wellbeing, skill acquisition and development, injury prevention, social media awareness, alcohol and drug education, psychology of sport, teamwork, goal setting, nutrition advice, financial planning, media training and positive body image to shape the holistic athlete who achieves success both on and off the playing field.

Many Hunter Academy athletes have gone on to represent at national or state level in their chosen sports, while this year, nine athletes were selected to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympic sailor Nathan Outteridge stated prior to his first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, “As a member of the Hunter Academy of Sport I had access to the best coaching in NSW and Australia. The squad would have regular monthly training sessions where we would have different coaches who helped us in various areas of our sport. Being a part of the squad also gave me access to sharing knowledge with other top sailors in the Hunter Region and also meeting other young top sportspeople from other sports at various inter-sport camps.”

Current Hunter Academy track and field standout Erin Cleaver, a 17-year-old from Whitebridge will make her first Paralympic appearance this month in Rio.

Erin credits the Hunter Academy of Sport on assisting with her nerves when being selected to national teams for the NSW State Team and Australian National Team.

“The skills I have learned while being part of The Academy have made me less anxious when selected on the teams for the Australian Junior Championships and IPC World Championships,” she said.

Ready to Chase your Olympic Dream?

The Hunter Academy is currently accepting nominations for the following talent development programs: Australian rules, athletes with a disability, basketball, cycling, golf, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, netball umpires, rugby 7s, tennis and ten pin bowling. For more information and to apply for a Hunter Academy of Sport talent development program visit www.hunteracademy.org.au

Support the Academy There are many opportunities to aid the youth in the region, not only in fostering elite athlete pathways but also in community involvement and healthy participation programs. If you would like to support the Hunter Academy of Sport in any way, contact info@hunteracademy.org.au

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