The 2018 Anchor AIMS Games was a turning point for 12-year-old Tauranga lad Charlie Goodhue, and the experience continues to spur him on.

Charlie has a heart condition (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome) which limits the sports he can be involved in.

Wolff-Parkinson-White causes a rapid heartbeat, which makes activities with high cardiovascular requirements difficult to take part in. Charlie also has Ebstein's anomaly, a rare heart defect.

But it did not stop him from competing alongside more than 10,800 athletes in the annual AIMS Games in September last year.


A teacher at Otumoetai Intermediate knew how keen Charlie was and so approached him and asked if he wanted to take part.

"It was just fun for once being able to really compete in a sports competition and meet new people," Charlie told the Bay of Plenty Times when we caught up with him this summer.

"It's made me take part in lots of other things. I've been growing in confidence since the AIMS Games. And I'm willing to give anything a go no matter how hard the challenge."

He said he got stuck into his school camp at Ngatuhoa Lodge in Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, and especially enjoyed the tubing.

"I found that addictively fun."

Charlie competed in indoor bowls at the AIMS Games, a sport he tried for the first time only a few months before the event.

He trained hard for weeks and improved fast.

Looking back, the competition was tough, he said, but it was a good experience.


"All the games that we were playing we were against a lot of very, very, very good players."

Charlie said there were a lot of highlights, but one moment stands out.

"I would have to go with the part where I sprained my fingers, and I was going to give up, and I had Mum motivating me to keep going on, instead of giving up."

It seems those roles have since reversed, with Charlie inspiring his mum to try something new.

"I'm playing business house bowls on a Thursday night," Arlette Goodhue said.

"My work was putting in a team, and I thought, oh, well if Charlie can do it, I'll give it a go.

"I think he might have to be a sub if we're ever short. He might have to come and help us."

Arlette said the AIMS Games was a "fabulous experience".

"It's great - interacting with kids from other schools, experiencing new sports and the attitude of all the kids that we came into contact with was just amazing."

Charlie is moving into Year 8 in 2019, which means he has another shot at the AIMS Games come September.

"If there's a position for me to go in, I'll definitely be there," he said.

In the meantime, he is looking forward to hitting the beach, swimming and "not going to school".