Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

AIMS games come to a close

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SILVER: (L-R) Marielle Dulangon and Ruby Barnes of Mount Maunganui Intermediate securing silver in the girl's table tennis doubles.
SILVER: (L-R) Marielle Dulangon and Ruby Barnes of Mount Maunganui Intermediate securing silver in the girl's table tennis doubles.

The AIMS Games athletes recovered after a big night of dancing for the final day of the tournament, with the table tennis finals showing off Tauranga's talent.

The finals for sports such as badminton, basketball, football, rugby sevens and table tennis were held yesterday, after the Competitor's Disco and the Adult Social Evening were held the night before.

Table Tennis Tauranga Incorporated president Paul Henderson said the games had been fantastic for the 127 table tennis athletes.

"I would say at least 60 per cent [of the competitors] have been local, he said.

Silver medal table tennis winners Kelly Currin, 12, Chelsea Garner, 12, and Shyla Dawson, 13, of Pongakawa School were still excited about their first win.

"We were all feeling so proud, showing off our medals," Shyla said.

"Since Pongakawa is a small school, it really puts us out there," Kelly said.

SILVER: (L-R) Marielle Dulangon and Ruby Barnes of Mount Maunganui Intermediate securing silver in the girl's table tennis doubles. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
SILVER: (L-R) Marielle Dulangon and Ruby Barnes of Mount Maunganui Intermediate securing silver in the girl's table tennis doubles. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

They lost out to Somervile Intermediate School for the top spot, but spirits were still high at the games with their second placing.

"I love it, it's so fun meeting new people from other areas of New Zealand," Shyla said.

Sport Bay of Plenty BayTrust table tennis coach Kadia Keller-Rice had coached many of the teams "right from the start".

"And to see them playing now, it's really exciting to see them play so well," she said.

"You get goosebumps watching."

Girls' doubles bronze medalists Shakira Cables, 12, and Holly Ramsden, 13, of Tauranga Intermediate said table tennis at the AIMS Games was a great opportunity to play in a team environment.

"Before the game you have to be in the right mindset," said Holly.

Both girls had been asked to attend the table tennis nationals later this year.

Paige Edelston, 13, of Tauranga Intermediate said the sport required a lot of concentration and hand-eye coordination, and the opportunity to play at the AIMS Games meant an improved performance for many players.

"It's been a great experience, from just learning to play, to now playing non-stop for five days," she said.

Rachel Dunn, 12, of Otumoetai Intermediate said there were a few misconceptions about table tennis.

"Some people think table tennis is just standing in a box, but once you get to a certain level it's not anymore," she said.

AIMS tournament director Vicki Semple said the week had gone "really, really well".

"It's been record numbers with a record number of codes. The trustees and committee members are delighted with the outcome of the week," she said.

Ms Semple said the attendees were an "incredible, and absolutely joyous age-group".

"The highlight was just seeing over 9000 youth enjoying a week of sport and comradery.

She said they were really lucky to launch BMX, canoe slalom and futsal to the games.

Baradene College of Auckland took home the Teammates Cup, the premier award for overall excellence, presentation, competitiveness, fair play and respect.

Ms Semple said she was grateful the way Bay of Plenty community had supported the games.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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