NSWIS Pursu32+ Camp will provide Regional Athletes with insights - and opportunity

The first intake of regional athletes targeted for the game changing New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) ‘Ready’ PURSU32+ RAS Talent Program will receive their initial taste of the rigors and demands of a high performance sports program when they attend a camp at Sydney Olympic Park this weekend. 

Congratulations to NIAS athlete Ben Shaw (Mountain Biking) and former NIAS athlete Eddie Willis (Mountain Biking) on being selected!

NIAS CEO Shona Eichorn said, “What an incredible opportunity and experience for our talented Northern Inland athletes. We congratulate both Ben and Eddie on their selection in PURSU32+ and look forward to supporting their progress on the pathway to higher achievement.”

The athletes selected to attend the camp were identified by the Regional Academies of Sport (RAS), a collaborative partner of the program. The athletes were then invited to submit an expression of interest which was a key step in the selection process.

The aspiring athletes were not only selected based on performance but the process also considered those who displayed the potential to progress to elite level competition and ultimately the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as their resilience, aptitude, determination, and the support [encouragement] provided to them by their family. 

NSWIS chief executive Kevin Thompson described the pilot program as one that will change the game for athletes from regional and remote areas in NSW. Through a series of camps and online webinars, the athletes will have access to NSWIS coaches, sports scientists and nutritionists, and access to information about such things as strength and conditioning training. 

“This is an opportunity for NSWIS, through our collaboration with the State Government and NSW Regional Academies, to help prepare talented athletes in remote and regional communities for the Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Mr Thompson. “They’ll benefit from advice on how to train properly, how to plan your sport, the means to develop their life and career around the sport, and to . . . hopefully . . . provide them with a pathway into an elite environment,”

“For NSWIS to play its role in Australia’s sporting landscape we need athletes. And we acknowledge there is a great crop of talent throughout regional NSW. The area has a longstanding tradition for producing athletes who are resilient, have the raw talent that can be refined into something special, and as young athletes who’ve more often than not had to ‘make do’. They have the determination, hunger and strength needed to succeed.” 

Brett O’Farrell, Chair of NSW Regional Academies of Sport, believed the NSWIS ‘Ready’ PURSU32+ program had the potential to mould the nation’s future sporting heroes. 

“To have the NSW Government, New South Wales Institute of Sport and the NSW Regional Academies working together on this project with a long term goal of achieving podium success at the Brisbane 2032 Games is not only ground breaking, it’s the strongest collaboration and opportunity that young regional athletes have received and it will produced our country’s next crop of future champions,” said Mr O’Farrell. 

Shona Eichorn, CEO of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS), recognised the outstanding achievements of NIAS Mountain Biking athletes Ben Shaw and Eddie Willis, who were selected to attend the PURSU32+ camp.

“What an incredible opportunity and experience for our talented Northern Inland athletes. We congratulate both Ben and Eddie on their selection in PURSU32+ and look forward to supporting their progress on the pathway to higher achievement.”

Andrew Logan, NSWIS’s Director, Coaching, Regional and Talent, said the athletes attending the camp in Sydney this Friday and Saturday would not only be put through a battery of tests, but they would also hear from four time Olympian and medal winning diver, Melissa Wu

“We look forward to welcoming the 39 NSW regional based athletes this weekend to NSW Institute of Sport Sydney Olympic Park, for Camp 1 of the NSWIS Ready | PURSU32+ | Regional Academy of Sport (RAS) talent program,” said Mr Logan.  

“This is the first Camp of a pilot program, led by NSWIS, in collaboration with the NSW Regional Academies of Sport, that brings together aspiring athletes who demonstrated the potential to progress to elite level competition, Olympic and Paralympic Games.  

“Anecdotally, many of Australian representative athletes begin their sporting journey in rural and regional areas. Being based regionally brings many challenges with travel and access to sport expertise.  

“If we can provide, through PURSU32+, increased opportunities and exposure to competition, high level coaching and performance support expertise to name a few,  then this may be the catalyst to provide belief and inspiration to pursue their sport journey.” 

The NSWIS ‘Ready’ PURSU32+ RAS Talent Program was welcomed by a number of Olympians, including Brent Livermore who won a gold medal in hockey at the 2004 Athens Games. 

“It’s an amazing talent pool and something that is really important to tap into,” said Mr Livermore of Regional NSW.  “As [former Hockeyroo and Northern Inland Academy of Sport Hockey graduate] Kate Jenner said, 60 to 70 percent of the athletes coming through the state programs – and it’s probably across all sports, but hockey in particular – come from the regional area.  

“The PURSU32+ Program is going to be very important, and one of the main things is around inspiration and the motivation . . . there is an opportunity.” 

Keira Buckpitt, one of Australia’s most talented emerging surfers – and who was selected in the program’s first intake – spoke on behalf of the other 43 athletes when she spoke of the excitement the program provides regional athletes. 

“It’s crazy, really,” said Ms Buckpitt, from the Illawarra Academy of Sport and photographed with former Hockeyroo, Kate Jenner, a graduate of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport.

“I never thought there was going to be a program for these communities based away from the city. It’s really good having something giving us the opportunities just like the city kids have . . .  the kids who have it all at their finger tips. 

43 athletes have been selected for the first intake of the NSWIS ‘Ready’ Pursu32+ RAS Talent Program of which 39 athletes are attending the first camp.