The Zespri Aims games are currently running in Tauranga from the second to the ninth of September. Since they began sixteen years ago, the games have grown from a small annual sports festival to a major middle school sports event, expecting around 12,000 students to compete this week.
The games give 11, 12 and 13 year olds an opportunity to compete for championships in over 20 different sports: badminton, basketball, BMX, canoe sport, cross country running, soccer, futsal, golf, gymnastics, hip-hop dancing, hockey, indoor bowls, indoor cricket, mountain biking, netball, rock climbing, rugby, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, water polo, and yachting.
Students are visiting from all over New Zealand, but the biggest numbers come from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. Some students have even travelled from the Pacific Islands to compete.
Tournaments are being hosted in facilities around Tauranga, and special buses are running to transport excited groups of young athletes around the city. The spring weather has been very light and fine, and the buzz of excitement has bought a cheer to the streets that is very welcome after a covid winter.
Although the games are intended to be annual, this is the first meeting since 2019. There has been a lot of excitement for students to be able to compete again after such a long time.
If you are training for IELTS, you can find some good bar graphs demonstrating the growth of the games on this website.
Currently: right now
Championship: the position of being a champion; the winner of a tournament
Tournament: a large sports competition where many players compete in many games
All over: throughout
Facilities: something useful that has been built; eg: changing rooms, showers, tennis courts, car parks
Cheer: a happy feeling
Buzz of excitement: a feeling of excitement in a group of people