Teakaiti Toa, Timeri Werring, Dreena Teapa, Maka Maui and Christopher Neururer put on an exceptional performance at the East Pacific Qualifying event in Samoa earlier this month to qualify for the Fiji event.
National head coach Malcolm Kajer was pleased with the performance of these players as well as others that represented the Cook Islands in the East Pacific Qualifying event.
A 10-member national team took part in the tournament, which also had teams from Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa and Tahiti competing.
In the boys’ 12 years and under category, Cook Islands defeated Tahiti in the teams’ event to win the title.
Maui beat Noah Chin 4-0, 4-0, while Christopher Neururer narrowly lost to Herman Chang 4-2, 4-5, 5-10 in the singles event.
Kajer said Neururer had chances to close up the match but was unable to do so.
The duo had to win the doubles final to gain first place in the grade.
“This was a good turnaround, as in early preliminary play they went down to Tahiti in the doubles decider. Maui managed to easily win his matches, which places him still the number one 12 year old in the East Pacific,” Kajer said.
In the girls’ 12 years and under, the national team of Timeri Werring and Dreena Teapa fought their way through the pool matches to gain a spot in the final against the Samoan top seed.
“The experience and the size of the Samoan girls was a bit too much and we settled for second place in the grade,” Kajer said.
One of the highlights of the tournament was Teakaiti Toa reaching the top four in the 14 and under category, in which she had to play difficult pool play matches in order to gain the spot.
Toa and her partner Moana Une were runners up in the 14 and under girls’ doubles, while Jessie Toa and Ariki Toa Allsworth were also runners up in the boys’ 14 and under doubles.
Kajer said they were overwhelmed with the results achieved by the national development team in the East Pacific Qualifying event.
“Apart from Maka, these results weren’t expected, especially when we had no idea who the opposition teams were. I’m pleased with the team’s performance at this event and congratulate the players who have qualified to the tournament in Fiji.
“I would like to thank our major sponsor Bluesky for their support and also thank the parents, the community members and team manager Francis Cook for assisting me with this team in Samoa.”