It may seem like a lifetime away, but South Coast surfer Keira Buckpitt is on the right path to competing at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
The Culburra junior on Wednesday attended the launch of Pursu32+, a new, high-performance talent pathway program which aims to level the playing field for regional NSW athletes.
Pursu32+ is a joint initiative between the NSW Institute of Sport and Regional Academies of Sport.
The initiative connects targeted participants and their coaches to high-performance expertise and provides them opportunities to develop their craft in their chosen Olympic disciplines.
Pursu32+, which has the long-term goal of athletes tasting success at the 2032 Games, will have its first intake of 25 athletes aged between 14 to 18 later this year.
Buckpitt, who is also a Illawarra Academy of Sport member, is one athlete poised to take part in the unique initiative.
"I never thought that there would be a program based on those communities that are away from the city. It's really good to have something that's given opportunities like the kids that have it all at their fingertips," she said.
"I live in Culburra and I train in Wollongong, which is an hour-and-a-half away. It's a bit of a trek, so having this program will help out with the costs of everything.
"I'd love to compete at Brisbane 2032. There will be a few hurdles on the way, but it's definitely a goal for me."
Buckpitt's fellow IAS student, Mia Parker, also has a long-term plan to compete at the Olympics in water polo in nine years' time.
"I spend a lot of time travelling up to Sydney to train and play, so to have that extra support would be really good," the teen said.
"It's my dream to compete at the 2032 Olympics. I'm training and working hard and always trying to improve.
"Hopefully I'll be able to represent Australia one day."
Wollongong athlete Sarah Carli, who represented Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, described the Pursu32+ initiative as a "game changer" for regional talents.
"It's so important for athletes to be recognised by programs like Pursu 32+ because it gives them backing and confidence that they're capable of bigger things as athletes," Carli said.
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