Registrations for this year’s international AIMS games in Tauranga have overwhelmed organisers with a 25 per cent jump to a new record of 5800 intermediate–aged pupils confirmed.
Tournament director Vicki Semple was “blown away” by the jump in registration numbers for the September New Zealand Community Trust AIMS Games that are now closed.
Murray’s Bay Intermediate and St Mary’s College compete in water polo at Baywave at last year’s AIMS Games.
She says organisers are now working hard to ensure they can cope with the increase on last year’s 4600 competitors.
“I couldn’t believe the numbers. After the increase we had last year I was expecting numbers to stabilise – not jump like they have.”
The rise in numbers has come from a combination of more schools taking part (151 from 121 last year) and returning schools sending more teams.
“I have noticed that a lot of schools are bringing extra teams, which is great. It shows they’re really happy with the event.”
After a push to make it an international event two Australian schools will be competing this year, while observers from another school observe the event with a view to take part in 2013.
Vicki says they were helping the many new schools find accommodation and were looking at having an audio-visual broadcast of the opening ceremony to players unable to be seated in TECT Arena, because of limited capacity.
“But with such great numbers taking part they are good problems to have.”
She says available sports grounds could cope with the jump in player numbers, with the only concern being how to cope with the increased hockey teams.
Total hockey teams have gone from 39 to 49 and a meeting is being held this week to plan if they can cater for the teams, which already compete at two sites -Bethlehem College and Blake Park.
“We just don’t know how we can do it. Logistically it’s already a huge challenge for schools.”
Rugby league, which debuts this year, has attracted 12 teams. Codes to have major increases include netball and basketball.
The tournament will take place from September 9-14.