AIMS Games cancelled for second year running

Image: Alan Gibson/Gibson Images.

For the second year in a row the AIMS Games have been cancelled due to Covid-19. 

The annual intermediate-aged sports tournament was due to begin in Tauranga from September 4 but due to ongoing concerns regarding the current Covid-19 Alert Level and the transmission of the Delta strain in the community, the event has been cancelled.

"We are gutted for so many people - for the supporting schools, businesses, the incredible code-coordinators, the national sporting bodies, the supporters and most of all, the athletes themselves," says tournament director Vicki Semple. 

"The sport coordinators have worked tirelessly for the best part of a year to build their teams and set things in place but our greater consideration is for the good of all New Zealanders and there's no way we want to compromise or jeopardise our wider fight against Covid-19."

In a statement, organisers say that for the event to go ahead, all of New Zealand needs to be at level 1.

Postponement of the event was not considered possible due to the vast numbers of participants and the logistics of organising the event. 

This year's tournament again received more than 11,000 entries from all over around the country. . 

While she knows so many athletes will be devastated by the decision, Vicki has urged people to focus on the positives.

"It's been extraordinary to see the overwhelming support from schools and communities this year, with many athletes fundraising and in training since the start of the year. We've been incredibly lucky to have six months without community spread of Covid-19, where our youth have been able to have relatively normal lives and experience all the good things about sport and activity, in the face of a global pandemic. We're so proud the AIMS Games has given them hope, purpose and motivation, which no cancellation can take away."

She says she is confident the tournament still has a huge role in New Zealand's sporting environment, with sponsors and schools alike already pledging their support for the 2022 games.

AIMS Games Trust chairperson and Otumoetai Intermediate principal Henk Popping said in many ways, this year's decision was far easier to make than last year's cancellation, which was made three months' before the tournament was to have taken place.

"Going to Level 4 was an immediate indication of how seriously we needed to take this latest outbreak and we just need to put our faith in our health officials and political leaders who've navigated us through so far," says Henk.

"It's also a stark reminder that sport and recreation is a luxury, one that is incredibly important, of course, but it pales in comparison to the health concerns Covid-19 creates."

Last year’s event was cancelled under similar circumstances.

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