Massive surge in AIMS Games interest

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AIMS games cross country. Photo/George Novak
AIMS games cross country. Photo/George Novak

Organisers of this year's NZCT AIMS Games in Tauranga are astonished by the interest in the week-long event, with more than 300,000 hits on the tournament website for each of the first three days.

Halfway through the tournament week, the total hits on have already broken through the 2million barrier, already surpassing last year.

Social media interest has also been extraordinary, while the move to live stream events online and producing a daily highlights video have already been huge successes.

The online viewership for Sunday's cross country and opening ceremony was more than 70,000 alone, while the first three highlight clips had reached an audience of more than 79,000.

With 9300 intermediate-aged athletes from 275 schools all over New Zealand, tournament director Vicki Semple said her team had recognised the importance of showcasing the games to friends and family who couldn't make the trip.

"We're blown away by the interest already - after a few hiccups last year, we drastically increased the capacity of our servers and website and it's so fortunate that we did," Semple said.

"Move over, Shortland Street - our website and social media hits are simply staggering. It shows how keen people are to follow our athletes this week and we're reaching a significant percentage of the country with our coverage."

The games are in their 13th year, with record numbers competing in the 21 sports, in venues across the Western Bay of Plenty.

There are still some big events to come, with the inaugural BMX finals on Thursday featuring three Olympians - Sarah Walker, Kurt Pickard and Trent Jones, with the public warmly invited to the Tauranga BMX club on Cambridge Road.

Another sport making a debut - canoe slalom - will have Rio silver medalist Luuka Jones helping out on finals day on Thursday, while big finals in netball, football, hockey, rugby sevens, waterpolo, golf and basketball are still to come.

-Written by Jamie Troughton for the AIMS Games.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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