The stars turned out in force at the opening ceremony of the 2015 NZCT AIMS Games in Tauranga tonight.
Olympians Gemma Flynn and Blair Tuke provided the sporting inspiration to the 8000 intermediate-aged athletes at ASB Baypark Arena, with sailor Tuke and Black Sticks hockey player Flynn urging competitors to have an incredible week.
Flynn, a current member of the Black Sticks women’s team and Tauranga native, said she wished they had an event like the AIMS Games when she was at intermediate.
She spoke to the competitors about believing in themselves and their team mates.
“Each day when you go out and play, I want you to think, ‘what am I most proud of today and how can I be a little bit better tomorrow?’” she said, adding that all participants should relish the tournament and give it everything.
“Take a moment to enjoy it, to reflect, and also think about this week of being the best that you can be. Represent your school with pride.” she said.
Tuke encouraged the 8000 athletes not to limit themselves to one sport and to most importantly, have fun.
He said his fondest memories were not on the water, but playing tackle with his brothers in the backyard with kids from the neighbourhood.
“The moral of the story is to just to make sure you enjoy yourselves here because you’re all competing for your schools and if you can have fun along the way it’s going to be great.”
It was then left to singer-songwriter Jamie McDell and New Zealand X Factor winner Beau Monga to bring the house down, with performances that left the entire stadium shaking, with dance troupe The Bradas, and Tauranga duo Leilani and Elijah also performing.
The athletes themselves contributed to the occasion.
Otumoetai Intermediate’s Kapa Haka group opened proceedings, Tauranga Intermediate’s Anahera Whare and Joshua Hulbert sang the New Zealand national anthem and Mount Maunganui Intermediate head girl Molly Shivnan and Te Puke rugby sevens captain Wiremu Heyblom read the Fair Play Oath.
The opening ceremony followed first-day action in cross country and sailing, with 19 sports in total represented over the six-day games at a variety of venues in Tauranga.
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