Future sports stars are up for Games

ACADEMY GAMES

For the third and final time, hundreds of the state's best junior athletes will converge on the Illawarra for the Academy Games.

Venues in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands will play host to the 11 visiting academies on April 12 and 13.

A squad of 90 will represent the Illawarra, contesting seven different sports including cycling, golf, triathlon, lawn bowls, hockey, netball and rugby union.

Acting general manager of the Illawarra Academy, Shannon Fraser, believes the event will be a highlight of the region's sporting calendar.

"We're going to see future sports stars on the national and world stage competing here at the Games and we're looking forward to a great weekend of competition," Fraser said.

"Spectators are welcome at Games venues, and we encourage people to come along and cheer on our local and visiting athletes."

Bringing together some of the state's finest athletes, the Games sees more than 1000 athletes, staff and supporters participate around the region.

Fraser said the competition provides athletes with the opportunity to learn in a competitive setting.

"The academy programs are there to accelerate their training, their knowledge and learning, and I think the real value in the Academy Games - it allows them to accelerate their competition," Fraser said.

It is the final time Illawarra hosts the competition.

"This is the third of the three we have been awarded and we are obviously looking to finish on a high note, learn from the first two and really make it the pinnacle of our time hosting the games," Fraser said.

The games officially begin on Friday night at the University of Wollongong Sports Hub.

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