This year’s AIMS Games that were to be held in Tauranga have been cancelled due to the ongoing safety concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organisers of the AIMS Games said in a statement this afternoon they “have bowed to the inevitable” and postponed this year's national intermediate-aged sports tournament until 2021.
Tournament director Vicki Semple said it was the hardest decision organisers have had to make in the 17-year history of the event but the Covid-19 global pandemic had made hosting the tournament untenable.
"We've spent the past two months going through every possible scenario and agonising over what this decision means to our athletes, our schools, our supporters, our sponsors, local businesses and our contractors," Ms Semple said.
"The stark reality is that we just couldn't confidently host more than 11,000 athletes in September, while upholding the high standards of wellbeing we've set in previous years.
“This pandemic is so much bigger than sport - not only have we had to weigh up things like training and preparation lead-ins for athletes but we've considered the likely economic impact on families and how prepared they are to send their kids away for a week with uncertainty hanging over them.
“There are still just so many unknowns and no-one really knows how this is all going to play out."
Organisers managed to sort out a solution for last year’s AIMS Games when the measles outbreak was a concern but Ms Semple said this year’s issues are on a much larger scale.
She added feedback from schools also played a part in today’s decision, as has advice from relevant health authorities, School Sport NZ and national sporting bodies.
Numbers also helped with registrations for this year's tournament well down on last year with 60 schools signed up for 2020 in contrast to the 190 schools that had committed to last year’s event at the same stage last year.
Ms Semple said schools were indicating that cost and the limited support from hard-hit communities would prevent them from attending this year.