Next month student-athletes from across Asia will descend on AIS Saigon to compete in a three-day multi-sport event unlike no other.
Yes! The AISA Games are back after a four year Covid-19 hiatus, and AIS Director of Sport Matt Washer couldn’t be happier.
“This is the first AISA Games post COVID, and only the second time AIS Saigon has ever hosted the event – it’s an historic moment,” says Matt.
An Australian International Schools Association (AISA) calendar highlight, the AISA Games embody the spirit of sportsmanship, teamwork and camaraderie by bringing together student-athletes from different countries to pit their skills across a range of sporting codes - football, basketball, swimming, touch rugby and netball.
“The AISA Games are a true multi-sport tournament where most students compete in two or three different sports. This makes it very unique and, in my experience, players feel a great sense of satisfaction at the end of the Games from the sheer physical and mental effort put into competing.”
But as well as providing an exciting opportunity to compete on the international stage, the AISA Games gives athletes the chance to connect with peers from different cultures and expand their global outlooks.
“It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded students from other Australian International schools,” says Matt. “While athletes are competing to win, the lasting memories and friendships formed with students from other countries are ultimately the moments they will most remember.”
This year, 265 students-athletes from five countries will participate, including 65 from AIS Saigon, with another 10-15 AIS Saigon students assisting in roles such as chaperones, photographers, and social media coordinators. Many others will also be working tirelessly to ensure the event’s success – from the senior leadership team, admin staff, coaches and the sports council to graduate interns, local vendors, medical staff and game officials.
“This is a chance to showcase the school, our wonderful students, Saigon city and Vietnamese culture. We are proud to be hosting and dearly wish for our guests to have the best possible experience in Vietnam, leaving with warm memories etched in their hearts.”
The majority of sporting events will be played at the Thu Thiem campus – a facility ideally equipped to accommodate an international event of such magnitude.
“Our recently upgraded facilities are ideal for hosting the Games. We have a 25m outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor covered court for netball/basketball, indoor air-conditioned gymnasium (with new electronic scoreboards, sound system and LED screen) for basketball, and a newly re-surfaced artificial turf field for football and touch rugby.”
The AISA Games will kick off with a grand opening ceremony on November 16, 2023, with numerous opportunities for Saigon students and families to get in on the action.
“We welcome family members to come and watch the Games, as well as volunteers to assist for the three days. Students at AIS Saigon will have multiple opportunities to spectate and cheer on all teams at the Games. The compact and cozy layout of our school makes for excellent spectating. Regular students will be able to eat lunch in the cafeteria while watching a game of football or touch rugby. Players will have an ‘athlete chill zone’ where they can mingle with students from other schools, and all meals are onsite, so we eat, play and socialise together.”
While the games are not open to the public, those interested in experiencing all that AIS Saigon has to offer are invited to attend the school's Open Day, which coincides with the final day of the Games on Saturday, November 18.
"Our Open Day gives families and future students the opportunity to experience the excellent facilities and learning programmes that we offer,” says Matt.
More than fun and games
"These games epitomise the qualities we cherish as a school community - camaraderie, continuous development, and, most importantly, having fun,” adds Matt, who can’t wait to let the games begin.
“I love to see young people competing to the best of their abilities, demonstrating and developing the multitude of personal and interpersonal skills that come from participation in sports events – grit, determination, perseverance, resilience, leadership, sportspersonship and respect for others. For some, it may be a life-changing experience.”