The intermediate school NZCT AIMS Games is officially underway in Tauranga with the starting gun fired on the first event at Waipuna Park this afternoon.
More than 400 athletes accompanied by thousands of spectators gathered at the Welcome Bay park, braving the rain, for the cross country event – the first of the week long competition.
Coming in first place is Arleah Tippins from Otumoetai Intermediate.
Intermediate school age students compete in the cross country event of the AIMS Games at Waipuna Park today.
Tournament director Vicki Semple says everything is in place for what will be a fantastic event –with record entries from 166 schools and more than 6000 athletes, as well as 1200 coaches and supporters.
The games, which have grown to be one of the largest sporting events in New Zealand, will be officially opened by Olympic medallists Mahe Drysdale and Sarah Walker at the TECT Arena ceremony tonight.
This year, with the addition of rugby league, the tournament has been expanded to include 16 codes.
Among the sports experiencing the most growth this year are basketball - an increase of 18 teams – swimming, up by 300, indoor bowls, football and netball, which has increased 26 per cent to 76 teams.
It is also the first year international competitors will take part – with athletes from two Australian schools travelling to Tauranga for the event.
Vicki says the growth of the tournament is generating strong media interest and on Monday morning TV One’s breakfast show will broadcast live from Mount Maunganui Main Beach, where SunLive will also be covering all the action.
“What started as a small event nine years ago has grown to a phenomenal, action packed week long competition, which has gone international with the inclusion of the Australian teams, it’s so exciting for all the participants,” says Vicki.
Vicki might be the organisational face of the AIMS Games but it’s the committee behind her that deserves plenty of kudos, she says.
"On a scale of 1-10 in terms of craziness, I’m probably about a 10 this week, verging on 11 at times, but having an unbelievable committee behind me with great systems down pat has really been the key to holding it all together.”
A selection of photos from the first day of competition. Photos by Daniel Hines:
Second is Mollie Kroon from Remuera Intermediate and Brooke Varney from Strathallan College.
Logan Karauria from Tauranga Intermediate competes in the cross country event of the AIMS Games.
Georgia Clode from Baradene College closely followed by Zia Macdermid from Manrad Intermediate.
First in the Year 8 Girls was Georgia Clode from Baradene College.
The Year 8 boys begin the cross country event.
Bradley Christison followed closely by Theo Quax.
First in the Year 8 Boys was Bradley Christison and Second Theo Quax.
Farm Cove Intermediate’s Theo Quax and father Dick Quax - a silver medallist at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.