(L-R): Deputy Premier the HON John Barilaro, Ian Robilliard OAM (Managing Director of Central Coast Academy of Sport), NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian, Brett O’Farrell (Chief Executive Officer of Hunter Academy of Sport), James Cooper (Chief Executive Officer Northern Inland Academy of Sport) and Minister for Regulation and Innovation the HON Kevin Anderson

On Friday as part of the RAS strategy, a number of RAS Executive Staff met in Tamworth with the NSW Premier the HON Gladys Berijiklian, Deputy Premier the HON John Barilaro and Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation and a long time support of the RAS network and the Northern Inland Academy of Sport the HON Kevin Anderson to acknowledge and to thank them for their support to the RAS network.

The Regional Academies of Sport (RAS) is made up of member Academies including Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, North Coast, Northern Inland, Western Region, Southern, South West Sydney and Western Sydney have made a committed start to 2021.  A review of key results in 2020 will set the benchmark for growth plans in 2021. In 2020 RAS achieved some incredible results, results probably not expected nor anticipated, results achieved in a year like no other.

2020 was a time when regional sport was thrown into disarray, the RAS network recorded some astounding achievements, in total 2,498 athletes were provided opportunities across regional NSW, 113 sport talent programs were provided, 90% of all athletes were in the 13-18 age groups, an astounding 187 jobs were supported by RAS activities and an incredible $3M was supplied in volunteer value to deliver a variety of adjusted sporting programs.

In reviewing the 2020 numbers, the RAS Executive have begun the planning necessary to increasing the 2020 results with the application of additional resources to each and every program.  Regional Academies are specialist organisation in the area of athlete development, working alongside many State Sporting Organisations RAS is able to cost effectively deliver localised training programs throughout regional NSW.  RAS is keen to apply a growth strategy to bring two additional Academies (South East and Far West) under the RAS umbrella and by doing so would see numbers swell across another ten to twelve sporting programs.

The HON John Barilaro said of regional sport and the role RAS plays: “I’ve always said if we build it they will come, and that is why the NSW Government has invested record amounts in sporting infrastructure in regional NSW.  The Regional Academies of Sport have become an integral part of the sporting fabric of regional NSW and offer young people the sporting opportunities and facilities that in the past were only afforded to city kids.”

The HON Kevin Anderson said of the work of the RASi network: “The Tamworth region has had some of the greatest talent ever to pull on the green and gold. Josh Hazlewood, Paddy Ryan, Alan Tongue and Michael York are just a few of the names we have barracked for over the years. It’s great to see the NSW government recognising the potential of regional talent through a significant investment in our future sports stars.  Funding provided to the Regional Academy of Sport as well as a great deal of hard work and dedication from the RAS team has helped deliver the kinds of facilities required for our sportspeople to thrive. I look forward to seeing the Regional Academy of Sport continuing to keep our communities active and putting our stars of the future on the pedestal they deserve”.