CIRLA competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni said the tournament would be either played in the Nines or the 13s format.
“Our last Nines (juniors) tournament had to be cancelled due to the passing of a well-established league colleague Rea Rea from Ngatangiia and Titikaveka,” he said.
Benioni said the tournament would hopefully draw more interest for the juniors as well as coaches and organisers.
“It’s heart breaking when you turn up to a club event to watch a match whether it be rugby league or rugby union and you see around the outside of the field area, in front of everyone or the in goal area, all these young, age group children with a ball playing their own little competition.”
When told to sit down and watch the match, Benioni said they complain about having no competition to play in and showcase their talent.
“All they want is to be part of the competition and play.”
Benioni said they have to focus on the junior grades if they wanted to improve the development of the game in the Cook Islands.
“Juniors and minor grades are just as important as the senior grades. We can’t just say ‘we have no grade’ and turn your focus on your premiers,” he said.
“They are our future as everyone knows. They’ve always looked up to their seniors and the seniors should also look after them and help out in every way possible as they were also juniors once.”
Benioni is hoping all local clubs will be fielding their junior players in the Under-11s and U13 grades at Avatiu and Arorangi this weekend.
“I also encourage all young players in the U17 or U15 grades to come along wherever your club is competing this weekend and be counted.”
Meanwhile Takuvaine Warriors will take on Aitutaki Sharks in the premier match today at 5pm in Aitutaki while in the reserves, the Warriors will match up against the Titikaveka Bulldogs, also at 5pm, at Teimurimotia Field.
Tomorrow, Arorangi Bears will host Tupapa Panthers while Avatiu Nikao Eels will play Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles at The Swamp. - RK
Youngsters all in step to take on gymnastics
Cook Islands Gymnastics Federation has intensified their effort to spread the gospel of the sport at the grassroots level in Rarotonga.
Together with their sport development officers and Gymnastics Australia’s Oceania development manager Brooke Kneebush, they have visited Te Uki Ou and Takitumu Schools to conduct fundamental movement programmes with preschool and primary students.
The programme has been made possible through Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee’s All Sports Funding and support from the International Gymnastics Federation.
The gymnastic equipment has been funded through an Australian High Commission direct aid programme grant.
Cook Islands Gymnastic Association secretary Teina Taulu said the GymSchools programme had been designed to give students the opportunity to learn, practise and enjoy moving through a wide-range of activities that will help them to develop physically, socially and cognitively.
“Research tells us that children who have these fundamental skills are far more likely to participate in sport and recreation throughout life and that movement can be an effective cognitive strategy to strengthen learning, improve memory and enhance learner motivation,” Taulu said.
“Teachers are mentored through the weekly practical student sessions and a teacher education workshop will be conducted to provide further brain development opportunities for their students through movement and to highlight the links between the programme and the school curriculum.”
She said schools would receive Gymnastics Australia LaunchPad Lesson Plan and Activity Card sets, enabling them to conduct ongoing programmes.
The culmination of the programme will be a finale performance with each class learning a sequence to be performed to music.
“The response already from students and teachers alike has been very positive,” Taulu said.
“The activities are not only fun, but involve opportunities to develop a wide variety of skills ranging from maths concepts such as counting and rotation to social skills such as taking turns, sharing and respecting others.”