With the countdown underway to the South West Academy of Sport’s sold-out annual awards and dinner, members of the local business community are preparing to crown this year’s sports stars. On Friday February 4, a group of long-term sponsors will be on official duties at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre where they will announce the latest award recipients. The Sports Star of the Year, Emerging Sports Star of the Year and Wally Foreman Coach of the Year will be among the prestigious titles presented at the red-carpet event. Held each year, the glittering evening provides a high-profile platform for celebrating the region’s brightest talents in junior sport, attracting a crowd of community leaders and supporters including sporting luminaries. Category winners take centre stage on the night, receiving official recognition along with a medal or trophy for their achievements. SWAS chief executive officer Bernice Butlion said it was amazing to see local businesses and organisations coming together to shine the spotlight on young sports men and women aspiring to the highest pinnacles in sport. “We have so many talented athletes in the community. We are coming together to celebrate their success and where they are heading,” Butlion said. “It is great to be doing that with our sponsors, who are coming back again this year to help celebrate this success, as part of the SWAS family. “The event is testament to what SWAS stands for and what we are doing in the community.” This year’s guest speaker will be Olympic silver medallist and triple Commonwealth Games gold medal winning Kookaburra Trent Mitton, who recently announced his retirement from international field hockey. The emcee for the evening will be GWN7’s Shauna Willis, a familiar face across Western Australia thanks to her role at the television network. The event is being made possible by a number of sponsors including The Apprentice and Traineeship Company, Hexion Australia, Summit Realty South West, Nexus Risk Services, RCR Mining Technologies, Onsite Rental Group, The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Intersport Bunbury and Lomax Media.