Academy Southland celebrates 15th annual intake
Academy Southland has celebrated its 15th annual intake at a function in Invercargill tonight.
Ten athletes from eight different codes will join the Academy’s year one intake in 2019. The program provides personal development to support the athletes sporting performance providing services including athlete life, mental skills, nutrition, strength and conditioning.
Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie said the 15th anniversary of the programme provided an opportunity to reflect on the success of what was a new concept when it was first introduced.
“A lot has changed over the past decade-and-a-half. We’ve gone from having one staff member providing part-time support from Dunedin, to having a completely locally-driven programme,” McKenzie said.
“What hasn’t changed is the desire to provide the support and services which will help Southland’s most promising athletes achieve on the national and international stage.”
Over the years Academy Southland has built strong relationships with regional and national sporting organisations and a family of commercial and community funders including the ILT Foundation, Community Trust South and the Southern Trust.
Academy Southland co-ordinator Carly Anderson said the programme also enjoyed a close bond with the Otago Academy of Sport, harking back to its roots in the Academy of Sport South Island.
“While we have a completely separate governance structure, we work closely together, including a yearly camp which has operated in Invercargill, Dunedin and Central Otago,” Anderson.
“A great example of this collaboration is Josh Burnett, who won the national under 23 mountainbike title over the weekend. Josh worked so hard and made the most of the opportunities available during his two years with Academy Southland and is now able to utilise the services of the Otago Academy while he’s studying at Otago University.”
Academy Southland graduates have gone on to represent New Zealand at world championships, Commonwealth and Olympics Games and McKenzie is excited about the legacy which will be created by the latest intake of athletes.
“This is strong, well-established programme and it’s really up to the athletes to make the most of the opportunities which will be presented to them. Our goal is not just to support them to be champion athletes, but also to be champion people that Southlanders can be proud of.”