Australian schools join Aims Games

By Peter White

The phenomenal growth in participating intermediate schools at the NZTC Aims Games has seen the event grow from 700 competitors representing 17 schools when it began in 2004, to more than 6000 athletes from 166 schools involved this week.

For the first time three schools from Australia have travelled over, two to compete and one on a fact-finding mission, to what has become easily the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tournament director Vicky Semple says her goal before the action started on Sunday was to ensure they kept up the high standards from past years and to celebrate youth sport.

"All our events are run to a national standard and word has spread that the Aims Games is a fantastic tournament and, if you are a competitive sports team, then it is the event to go to," she said.

"We are lucky we have such a great team of superb co-ordinators who have a passion for making sure their tournament is absolutely fantastic."

One series of events Semple recommends for spectacular viewing are the multisport races to be held at McLaren Falls Park tomorrow morning, featuring a 1km kayak race, 3.8km mountain bike pursuit and 2.4km run.

For Semple and her team there will be no rest once this year's group of inspired young athletes goes home to tell their families and friends about the experiences they have been through this week.

Next year's planning begins almost as soon as the last bus pulls out of town.

"This time next week I will be working on 2013. It is a year-round project now.

"We start booking venues and organising everything from then to ensure everything is perfect for next year."

All tournament results can be found at

- Bay of Plenty Times

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