Sport is first and foremost about fun. Bringing the ultimate in sporting fun and competition to Tauranga is the Anchor AIMS Games.
The Anchor AIMS Games is a sporting championship like no other, providing the opportunity for Year 7 and 8 students to compete against the best in their age in 23 different sports, as individuals or as part of a team.
A highlight of the year for 11, 12 and 13-year olds around the country, the aim of the event is to provide opportunities for students to compete at an elite level, be active, celebrate fair play and enjoy success. The spirit of the games is exemplified by the large number of participants and supporters irrespective of the school’s region, context or size.
From Small Festival to International Championship
Since 2004, the Anchor AIMS Games has grown from a small festival of sport with 730 competitors from 17 schools competing in four sporting codes, to become the International Championship for Intermediate and Middle Schools. The 2019 event was the 16th and largest yet of the AIMS Games and saw 368 schools from across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific send 11,500 athletes to Tauranga to compete in 23 different sports.
And it’s not only the athletes that benefitted from New Zealand’s largest junior sporting festival. With thousands of contestants and their families flocking to Tauranga city for the week, the region significantly benefited from the off-season economic boost.
The event also proudly showcased 18 of the Western Bay of Plenty’s best sporting venues and facilities, including the Baywave TECT Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Argos Gymsport, the TECT Auditorium at Baypark, Tauranga Hockey, Mount Maunganui Tennis Club and many more.
Anchor AIMS Games tournament director Vicki Semple says she is proud of the massive team that puts on the games each year, and thanks the community for their support.
“I really want to thank all the residents of Tauranga, who continue to open their homes and support this event. The way everyone pulled together to create six days of special memories for our record number of athletes left me well and truly humbled.”
So Many Sports and Strong Sportsmanship
One big draw for the tournament is the number of sports on offer. Many sports made their debut this year; with the introduction of mountain biking, mixed quick rip rugby sevens, canoe sprint, a 9-hole golf division, BICs yachting, AeroDance and 3x3 mixed basketball, the possibilities for the young athletes were endless!
“It’s vital that kids at this age don’t specialise too early - they need to try as many sports and pastimes as possible and develop all-round skills and enjoyment” Vicki says. “Introducing these new sporting codes has made the Anchor AIMS Games more inclusive, more accessible, and has made massive difference to the smaller schools that don't have the numbers to form full single-sex teams.”
With plenty of sports on offer, there was also plenty of sportsmanship to be seen. Vicki says it’s been a highlight of the event this year.
“Supporters have really focused on cheering the positives, while the teams themselves have gone out of their way to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. It's a beautiful thing to see and it sets these kids up for outstanding lifetime habits.”
TECT has proudly supported the Anchor AIMS Games since 2011, and this year with a grant of $110,000, ensured the games could become a reality once more for so many eager athletes.
TECT Trustee Peter Blackwell says the Anchor AIMS Games provides an incredible experience for young people who are passionate about sport, while also boosting our economy.
“It's an experience so many young people want to partake in. It’s getting kids involved in sports and we all know how many positive benefits are derived from sport and physical activity. It also brings a lot of money to our region with thousands of kids attending. It's a win-win for all, which isn't something you see often in sport!"
“It’s incredibly valuable for these young athletes—not only for their health and well-being, but also for the sense of accomplishment they get in taking part, the new friendships and the lifelong memories.”
To learn more about the Anchor AIMS Games, visit https://www.nzaimsgames.co.nz/