Former Kangaroo Gary Belcher, chief executive officer of the Tweed Academy of Sport, takes time out to meet aspiring stars PJ Vandenberg (rugby union) and Gabi Nance (hockey).
Former Kangaroo Gary Belcher, chief executive officer of the Tweed Academy of Sport, takes time out to meet aspiring stars PJ Vandenberg (rugby union) and Gabi Nance (hockey). Photo supplied

Academy to keep Tweed talents

TWEED athletes will no longer have to leave the district to reach elite levels in their sport when the Tweed Academy of Sport opens its doors next month.

At least that's the hope of founding director Margaret Coleman.

“Too many of our local athletes are forced to travel north or south in search of more elite pathways,” Coleman said.

“We have a great region here in the Tweed with great facilities and some highly experienced personnel who live locally.”

Selected athletes will be given advanced education in nutrition, fitness, goal-setting, time management, injury management and sport psychology by sporting greats such as Australian hockey representatives Sharon Buchanan and Scott Fitzpatrick.

They will enjoy elite coaching and state-of-the-art facilities.

More than 30 exceptional hockey players aged 14-17 will be the first to be inducted into the academy on Saturday, before the academy's official launch at 4pm on Friday, November 13 at the Bamboo Restaurant in Casuarina.

Once the first hockey intake is complete, the TAS hopes to secure sponsorship to include rugby, netball, soccer and cricket players.

The non-profit academy will rely on local businesses for funding.

Coleman said the academy would place a strong focus on community involvement, directly benefiting all sport in the area.

“The community will be funding the athletes, so the athletes will be putting back into the community,” she said.

Chief executive officer and former rugby league great Gary Belcher, who moved to the Tweed recently, said he had been shocked by the limitations facing young athletes due to bureaucratic red tape and cross-border issues.

“Our facilities are in New South Wales, so the Queensland Government won't provide funding and as a lot of our athletes compete north of the border the NSW government also turns its back,” he said.

Prospective athletes, sporting associations or sponsors can contact Coleman on 0413 622950.



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