While it’s usually a podium finish or a personal best by one of its athletes that gives the South West Academy of Sport staff reason to celebrate, this week they were smiling for a different reason.
On Monday, SWAS welcomed news of a financial commitment from the State Government which will assist the not-for-profit organisation – and its young champions – to continue striving ahead.
It was announced that the academy would benefit from funding through the Regional Athlete Support Program.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said the four-year funding program would help regional athletes achieve their best.
“This funding enables talented athletes to train and stay in their community as they advance along the talent pathway,” Ms Davies said.
“It also makes sure local coaches and officials are able to support regional athletes in their home environment by providing them with leadership skills, education, training, and support services.”
SWAS chief executive officer Bernice Butlion said the funding would help promising young sports men and women in the South West who have the added challenge of distance to overcome in their pursuit of sporting excellence.
“In terms of long-term planning, we are really pleased that the State Government has got behind the cause of supporting athletes in the regional training environment,” Ms Butlion said.
“For us, it is a relief we can continue supporting our athletes and keep on producing the quality of athletes that have been coming out of SWAS.
“I think the results are speaking for themselves.”
Examples of athletes who have participated in SWAS programs over the years include Fremantle Dockers midfielder Connor Blakely, BMX rider and Olympian Lauren Reynolds, and rowing extraordinaire and Olympian Alexandra Hagan.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said investment in regional sport was essential to help build stronger and more vibrant regional communities.
“This Royalties for Regions investment ensures all West Australians have access to quality sport and recreation opportunities,” Mr Redman said.
“It also helps keep talented young people in regional Western Australia with their families.”