BUDDING Olympians keen to get on the plane for the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 need to take the next step now - and the North Coast Academy of Sport is giving them that chance.
The Academy is looking for athletes for its 2012-13 programs in the Olympic sports of cycling and rowing, as well as in golf.
Talented road cyclists who are competing successfully at club and regional level are being sought for the Academy's cycling program starting in October.
The squad usually includes six to eight cyclists.
As well as intensive training days and camps, squad members in all sports receive an athlete education program which includes sports nutrition, sports physiology, sports psychology and drugs awareness. They also get an Academy uniform.
The program is endorsed by Cycling NSW and helps prepare participants for high-level performance at state and national level.
A trials camp for the rowing program will be hosted by the Lower Clarence Rowing Club at Maclean on September 8-9.
The camp will also involve National Rowing Centre of Excellence identification and development testing on the Saturday morning for prospective Academy rowers.
The rowing program is financially supported by the Grafton District Services Club and endorsed by Rowing NSW and the Northern Rivers Rowing Association.
Academy rowers have excelled at State and national championships in recent years, winning numerous medals and being selected in NSW teams for the Youth Cup and Youth Olympics.
In 2010, Riley Elvery and Leah Saunders (Maclean) and Sarah Jones and Johanna Tarrant (Grafton) were selected to tour New Zealand.
Following the 2011-12 Academy rowing program, Elvery and Saunders were also selected in the Australian team for the world junior championships in England.
The program is delivered through weekend camps and training days using Northern Rivers Rowing Association club venues as the training bases.
Sports science, including video analysis, ergometer and blood lactate measurements, are used as part of the regular testing procedures.
These sports science components also assist in the professional developmentof satellite coaches.
And in golf - which at times has been talked about as a future Olympic sport - the Academy is looking for 12-to 17-year-olds with talent.
Candidates are encouraged to submit an application and enter the NRDGA junior open day at Lismore Workers Golf Club on August 26. Applications will close next Tuesday.
A squad of up to 12 will be chosen for the Academy program, which is based on a curriculum delivered by the Bonville Golf Resort's PGA professional Craig Chandler.
Applications and details for the North Coast Academy of Sport cycling, rowing and golf programs are available from the website www.ncas.org.au