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.

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 mold the nation’s future sporting heroes.

“With a long-term goal of achieving podium success at the Brisbane 2032 Games, this project is the strongest collaboration and opportunity that young regional athletes have received – and it will produce our country’s next crop of future champions” said Mr O’Farrell.

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] 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.”

The Illawarra Academy of Sport is proud to have six athletes selected from our region.

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:


SportFirst nameSurnameTown / SuburbPostcode
T&F – Middle DistanceTrentAlleyPort Macquarie2444
T&F – Shot / DiscusXyBealeNorth Albury2640
Cycling MTBHunterBehnkeWagga2650
Cycling MTBAngusBehnkeWagga2650
HockeyElizaBerrickMountain View2460
Beach VolleyballAdaxBrienenWoonoona East2517
SurfingKeiraBuckpittCulburra Beach2540
SkateHarveyCampbellForresters Beach2260
CyclingSydneyChitterdenGlenfield Park2650
VolleyballChelseaCocksNorth Parramatta2151
SurfingOceaCurtisLennox Head2478
T&F – 100, 200mBoadyDunneLochiel2549
Triathlon – ParaMatthewEngesserSeven Hills2147
HockeyAlbertForbesCooks Hill2300
Sprint KayakJulianGlewCopacabana2251
Cycling MTBMatildaHanlonThe Branch2425
Netball / RowingOliviaHarrisGlenbrook2773
Rugby UnionGeorgieHayesLake Albert2650
BasketballKira DeeJuffermansBoambee2450
Sprint KayakEllaLawsonSpringfield2250
Sprint KayakHuxleyLuntunganBerkeley Vale2261
Snow – MogulsTaliaMannsCrackenback2627
T&F – 200, 400mMaxMcAneneyDubbo2830
Cycling MTBBenShawTamworth2340
HockeyBaydenSmithBonny Hills2445
Sprint KayakWilliamWattsRedhead2290
T&F – Throws, DiscusGeorgeWellsNiagara Park2250
Selected but not attending the camp
HockeyHunterBaldwinNew Lambton2305
Cycling Road & MTBEddieWillisEast Tamworth2340

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