More than 1100 young athletes are ready, set and good to go for the Colgate Games, New Zealand's junior athletics competition, this weekend.
The North Island Colgate Games has attracted 87 athletics clubs from across the country with 1155 competitors set to take their marks at Inglewood's Jubilee Park.
North Island Organising Committee chairman Simon Elliott says the North Island Colgate Games are set to be an exciting three days of events with athletes running, jumping and throwing their way to the podium.
"With the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games just a few months away, it's great to see the positive enthusiasm and energy from young athletes, coaches, and parents as we head into such an exciting time for the athletics community."
He says you can feel the excitement among the young athletes who hope to walk in the shoes of their sporting heroes.
"For more than 40 years, the Colgate Games has given youngsters the experience of competition and friendship, as they test themselves against others and develop strong sporting values. "
Athletics New Zealand chief executive Peter Pfitzinger says participation in both the North and South Island Colgate Games, which are hosted by a different region every year, has remained strong over their 42 year history.
"Athletics is a foundation sport that teaches movement skills that are transferable, and with such a range of events to choose from there really is something for everyone. The Colgate Games has become a rite of passage for so many young Kiwis and has a list of alumni that includes Tom Walsh, Nick Willis, Jeff Wilson and Bernice Mene."
National 100m champion and former Colgate Games participant Zoe Hobbs will attend the North Island Games to present medals.
Colgate general manager John Garside says it's good to see young athletes try their hand at new sports and encourage each other to do their best.
"Part of the spirit of these games is to see the friendship and support these young athletes give to each other, whether they're winning or losing."
Established in 1978, the Colgate Games is one of the longest continuous sports sponsorships in New Zealand. Colgate and Athletics New Zealand have provided eight scholarships worth $500 each for athletes who display outstanding performances.
The eight scholarships, four awarded each in the North and South islands, are named after Colgate Games alumnus Nick Willis and the funds will go towards helping the winning athletes achieve their athletics goals.
The North Island Colgate Games are being held at Jubilee Park, Inglewood from January 10-12, for athletes aged 7-14 years old. The South Island Colgate Games will continue in Christchurch's Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub from January 17-19.