Colgate Games in Inglewood

Inglewood was awash with young athletes when it hosted the junior national athletics championships.

The North Island section of the Colgate Games, an annual event for athletes aged 7-14, is being held at Jubilee Park from Friday to Saturday.

There are nearly 1200 athletes competing from 87 clubs, including 233 from Taranaki clubs, which are hosting the event in partnership with Athletics New Zealand.

“The kids love it, they get a lot out of it. It’s a pretty full-on three days for them, but they make new friends, meet other kids and enjoy competing against different people.”

Richard Baylis, from Normanby Athletics Club, said attending the games in Hamilton last year had fired a love of athletics in his two children.

As well as the various events, the games had all the colour and excitement of adult competitions.

“They do a big parade with all the clubs doing a march past like the Olympics,” he said.

The games, which are held in a different region every year, had become a rite of passage for many young athletes, Athletics New Zealand chief executive Peter Pfitzinger said in a statement.

“Athletics is a foundation sport that teaches movement skills that are transferable. The Colgate Games has a list of alumni that includes Tom Walsh, Nick Willis, Jeff Wilson and Bernice Mene.”

National 100m champion and former Colgate Games participant Zoe Hobbs will be at the Inglewood games to present medals.

The South Island Colgate Games will be held on January 17-19 in Christchurch.

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