Young coin designers hope to make a Mint

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The search is on for a winning design for a 50-cent coin themed on the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Open to all secondary school students, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games official coin design competition was launched today by the Royal Australian Mint.

One lucky student has the unique opportunity of having their initials appear on the coin - which will go into general circulation - and win $10,000 for their school.

Controller of the Royal Australian Mint, Vivienne Thom said young designers were being asked to present original work that displays the spirit of the Commonwealth Games with an Australian theme.

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Chairman, Mr Ronald Walker, said the competition provided an opportunity for young designer to showcase their talents not only within Australia, but around the world.

"The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be the largest and most spectacular sporting event in Victoria's history," Mr Walker said.

"Seventy one nations, representing a third of the world's population, will participate in the Games and this competition allows young Australians to be involved in this landmark event."

Entries will close Friday 15 October 2004. A shortlist of designs will be selected by a panel of judges, including Olympic swimmer Brooke Hanson, before the winner is announced on Friday 5 November 2004. The coin will be released before the Games, which kicks off with the Opening Ceremony on 15 March, 2006.

From 15-26 March 2006, more than 6000 elite athletes and officials from 71 nations will gather in Melbourne to take part in the Games.

The Games will feature 16 sports and 24 disciplines, with 14 of the 16 sports to be staged within a three-kilometer radius of the CBD.

Competition entry forms and full guidelines can be downloaded directly from the Royal Australian Mint's website www.ramint.gov.au