International Children's Games
The International Children’s Games is the largest multi-sport youth games in the world and is an International Olympic Committee sanctioned event. From the inaugural event in 1968, in which nine towns took part, the Games have grown to now include more than 400 member cities from five continents participating and embracing the original ideals of promoting peace and understanding through sport.
In 2014 Napier City entered its first team of athletes into the 48th International Children’s Games held in Lake Macquarie, Australia.
With the help of a number of generous sponsors and supporters, this was a first for not only Napier but also New Zealand. The athletes came away with valuable experiences in sportsmanship and international representation as well as two gold medals in BMX and two bronze medals in sailing.
The International Children’s Games were first held in 1968 in Slovenia as a way to encourage peace and goodwill amongst children of different cultural backgrounds. Since 1991, it has been an International Olympic Committee sanctioned event.
While the Games are a sporting event, there is much more to it than competing. The broader ideals of understanding other cultures, creating international friendships and engaging with international communities are an important part of the International Children’s Games movement.
BMX rider Amy Martin won two gold medals in the BMX time trials and the race, and a bronze medal each were won by Brianna Otto and Brooke Wedgewood in sailing events.Last year, thanks to the Port of Napier, the Jarrod Cunningham Trust, Downer and Aerospread, along with support from numerous businesses and individuals, the 2014 delegation made a lasting first impression on the world stage.
The football team came sixth and numerous personal bests were reported by the swimming team.
In June, Napier City sent 12 talented young footballers and swimmers, aged between 12 and 15 years.
As well as promoting New Zealand to other countries and being able to compare athletic performance and technique to others of the same age across the globe, the 2015 delegation also got the opportunity to network with other coaches and officials from around the world.
Swimmer Ruby Adsett won four medals: gold in the 50m freestyle, gold in 100m freestyle, silver in 400m freestyle and bronze in 200m freestyle.
Napier's football team came 14th overall out of 20 teams.
The 2015 team built on the success of their predecessors and, along with their friends, families and supporters (including the Napier City Council), they worked hard at fundraising to help get to them to the 49th International Children’s Games in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
While the Games’ host city met the cost of accommodation and meals for each delegation, it was up to each team and its supporters to cover the costs of travel, uniforms and competition attire.
Napier Port sponsored the team for the second year. We are also grateful to the Gezina family of Gezina Elzinga Estate (originally from the Netherlands) who was very generous in their support.