ACTION-packed sporting events will be held throughout the Illawarra this weekend as hundreds of the state's future sporting champions descend on the region for the Academy Games.
Illawarra is hosting the popular games for the third and final year from April 12-13. Athletes will showcase their skills in seven sports to be played at venues in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands.
Illawarra's strong squad of 90 includes cyclists Chloe Heffernan and Zachary Marshall, who said they wanted to propel the home academy to victory. Athletes from 11 regional NSW academies will participate in cycling, golf, lawn bowls, hockey, netball, triathlon and rugby union.
Illawarra Academy acting general manager Shannon Fraser believes the event will be a highlight of the region's sporting calendar.
"We're going to see future sports stars on the national and world stage competing here at the games and we're looking forward to a great weekend of competition," Fraser said.
"Spectators are welcome at venues, and we encourage people to come along and cheer on our local and visiting athletes."
The event represents the Illawarra's last chance to host the event before it passes to a new host academy.
Highlights include triathlon in Wollongong Harbour and Port Kembla, cycling team events, road races and criterium around Bowral, golf at The Links Shell Cove and Kiama Golf Club, hockey at Unanderra Hockey Stadium and lawn bowls at Bomaderry Bowling Club, beginning April 11.