THE FUTURE stars of Australian sport could be playing in our backyard this weekend when the Western Region Academy of Sport holds training camps across several sports at Dubbo.
The WRAS squads in lawn bowls, netball and golf will go through their paces on Saturday and Sunday, then on Sunday alone the basketball, hockey and softball squads will get together with their coaches.
Academy athletes from these six sports will be involved, as well as Lone Star and high performance athletes - those who are involved in state and national teams; as well as the AWD squad (athletes with disabilities).
Rachel Miller, the WRAS athlete services and events co-ordinator, said the academy squads for next year had been selected and the coaches were keen to get to work.
"We have some really quality coaches in the academy and there is an extensive program for the athletes set out for next year," she said.
"There are five athletes from Dubbo in the program - Peter and Emma Corcoran and Emily Lake in hockey and two lawn bowlers, Bradley and Hayden Barrow, so we wish them well.
"But we are really keen to see more Dubbo athletes involved and that's why we want them to come along on the weekend and see how the academy coaches operate.
"I would urge anyone to come along and train with the coaching staff and athletes.
"This is an opportunity to receive quality coaching and see first-hand what the WRAS can do for you. However, places are limited so you need to contact the sports and reserve your place."
The 2014 WRAS selection process will start with rookie camps in June and July.
Rachel Miller said there were plenty of options available for athletes with all information on the academy website www.wras.org.au.
A feature for the academy athletes each year is the ASI (Academy of Sports Inc) Games which will be held in Wollongong from April 19 to 21.
WRAS will be hoping for success but 10 other academies - including the Far West Academy of Sport - will be represented.
There will also be the WRAS combined camp for all athletes to be held at Wallerawang near Lithgow in February and hopefully they will come back to Dubbo later in the year.
The WRAS already boasts some fine athletes who have gone to the top in their sport - including Mark Renshaw (cycling), Kurt Fearnley (wheelchair racing) and Jo Banning and Jade Warrender (hockey).
o WRAS coaches for 2013 are:
Basketball: Rod Cooper (Young); Golf: Bruce McLean (Orange); Hockey: Wayne Gaynor (Lithgow); Hockey: Beth Shea (Orange); Lawn bowls: Ross Hunter (Grenfell); Netball: Trish Williams (Cowra); Softball: Alan Walker (Mudgee).