On Tuesday the 27th of February, IAS nominees and their families had the privilege of attending the 2024 Regional Academies of Sport (RAS) Awards Night, where all eleven RAS from across NSW came together at the Wenty Leagues Club in Parramatta to celebrate and recognise the achievements of athletes and coaches across five categories. Grace Tracey (Athlete of the Year Nominee), Jack Gibson (Athlete of the Year – Athlete With a Disability Nominee), Leon Davis-Cook (Steadfast Athlete Leadership Award Nominee), Ben Bell (Steadfast Coach Leadership Award Nominee), and Blake Mete (Athlete of the Year – UAA Indigenous Nominee) (Absent) represented the Academy extremely well, and were all excellent candidates in their categories. We are so proud to be associated with such incredible individuals. Congratulations all!

Up and coming 18-year-old baseball superstar Adam Bates from South West Sydney Academy of Sport was recognised as the 2024 RAS NSW Athlete of the Year, however Bates was not the only young athlete celebrated at the annual event. Four fellow RAS athletes and coaches were recognised for their significant achievements throughout the year.

Each award winner was selected from nominations received from across all RAS in NSW. The categories were:
• Athlete of the Year – Adam Bates (Future Stars / Baseball), South West Sydney Academy of Sport
• AWD (Athlete with Disability) of the Year – Dylan Littlehales (Para Kayak), Central Coast Academy of Sport
• UAA Indigenous Athlete of the Year – Millie Sutcliffe (Basketball), Western Region Academy of Sport
• Steadfast Athlete Leadership – Keira Higham (Netball), North Coast Academy of Sport
• Steadfast Coach Leadership – Poihaere Birtles (Rugby League), Far West Academy of Sport
The annual Award dinner, proudly supported by Steadfast, Underwriting Agencies of Australia (UAA) and ClubsNSW was heralded as yet another crowning moment for the RAS.

The RAS were grateful to host a significant number of dignitaries from a wide-array of NSW State Sporting Organisations, along with key representatives of NSW Office of Sport, the NSW Institute of Sport, Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia.

Guests included Dr Hugh McDonald MP, Member for Prosect, AOC Chief Executive of Community Engagement James Edwards, NSW Office of Sport CEO Karen Jones and representatives from the RAS networks major stakeholders. Also in the room were athletes, parents and staff from the Regional Academies, along with the South West Sydney Academy of Sport and Western Sydney Academy of Sport who co-hosted this year’s event.

Brett O’Farrell, Chairperson for the RAS said of the night, “This event stands as a pinnacle moment for our regional sporting excellence. It underscores the collective achievements of our athletes, coaches, and stakeholders from across NSW’s diverse landscapes. With over 2,000 athletes and 300 coaching staff benefiting from RAS support services across 100+ Local Government Areas, the RAS network’s growth and impact are undeniable. As we journey towards Australia’s 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games, the RAS’s recognition and influence continue to flourish across government entities, sporting institutions, and communities alike.”

The RAS continue to represent an extensive geographic areas across NSW, with over 100 Local Government Areas and support services provided for over 2,000 athletes, and 300 coaching and program staff.

The Regional Academies of Sport network continues to grow in recognition and significance, across a wide range of organisations, such as the NSW Government, the NSW Institute of Sport, Paralympics Australia, and State Sporting Organisations, as we head towards Australia’s 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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