Grafton athletes set for games

THE Northern Inland Academy of Sport is gearing up to welcome 1000 of the state’s best up and coming young athletes – including a host of Grafton stars.

Joining the athletes will be coaches and support staff when Armidale hosts today’s Clubs NSW Academy Games.

Athletes from the 11 regional academies including the North Coast will attend along with invitational teams from Central West Rugby, Sydney Hockey Academy and the newly formed Gold Coast Academy.

The North Coast Academy includes several young stars plucked from their fields because they are recognised as talents to watch in the future.

The games were developed as an exciting initiative that enables athletes from throughout NSW to come together to celebrate sport and the skills and commitment of talented athletes.

The games, now in their fifth year, will see seven sports - netball, hockey, rugby, golf, basketball, tennis and lawn bowls - represented with competition to start at 12pm today and run until 1pm Friday.

Four sports - netball, hockey, rugby and tennis - will be played at Sport UNE, while basketball will be at the Den Stadium, Armidale High School, lawn bowls at the Armidale City Bowling club and golf at the Armidale Golf course.

More than 1500 people are expected to attend the opening ceremony this morning at 9.30am at the historic Booloomimbah House.

Special guests at the games include Minister for Sport and Recreation in NSW Kevin Greene and Clubs NSW Chairman Peter Newell OAM. ClubsNSW Academy Games’ Steve McMillan says he can’t wait for the fun to begin later today. “Preparation has come together really well with having had the experience of hosting the event last year and we are excited about hosting the event in our region for the second time,” he said. “We have the hosting rights for another year and look forward to finishing our three-year term with a bang.”

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