Christchurch’s Ngā Puna Wai will host the South Island Colgate Games for the first time this month.
Last held in the city 12 years ago, one of the country’s most popular sporting events for youngsters draws more than 1000 of the most promising athletes annually – along with about 2500 spectators.
Established in 1978, the Colgate Games returns to Christchurch with a large number of entries.
The three-day event, which starts on Friday, 17 January, is open to track and field competitors aged from seven to 14. All competitors must be members of an athletics club.
Athletics Canterbury General Manager Ian Thomas says the local athletics community is thrilled to have the Colgate Games back in the city.
“We are excited to be holding the Colgate Games back here in Christchurch after a 12-year absence,” Mr Thomas says.
“It’s been a long time since our athletics community has hosted this event and we now get to do this at our new home, Ngā Puna Wai, and show off this wonderful facility to everyone else from around the South Island and those travelling from further away.
“It’s going to be a great three-day event as more than 1000 children participate in numerous track and field events.
“One of the great things about the Colgate Games is that it helps children build long-lasting friendships through sport.”
More than 450 Christchurch athletes will compete at the Games this week, with the Christchurch Avon Athletic Club leading the local entry field.
Christchurch City Council Events and Arts Manager Lucy Blackmore says that Ngā Puna Wai is perfectly placed to host such an important sporting event.
“With the opening of Ngā Puna Wai, Christchurch is again a major drawcard for big events,” Ms Blackmore says.
“Hosting the South Island Colgate Games highlights the city’s return to the national sporting stage. It will be fantastic to see so many up-and-coming athletes in action at a top-class, purpose-built venue.
“The facilities at Ngā Puna Wai are tailor-made for these special events, promoting the skills of hundreds of young athletes and the positive connections found through mutual sporting interests,” she says.
Hundreds of people will pour into Ngā Puna Wai each day, with competition under way from 9am.
The Colgate Games aims to provide young people with the opportunity to compete in a fun, social and friendly environment.
For many youngsters it is a family affair as they follow in the footsteps of parents and grandparents who have competed over the years.