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Small but strong Team CI

Wednesday August 28, 2013 Written by Published in Other Sports

A small but strong Team Cook Islands with real medal prospects departed for the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna early this morning.

The 16 member strong Team Cook Islands is made up of seven athletes from three codes including athletics, sailing and weightlifting.

National sprinter Patricia Taea, who has been training at the Regional Development Centre in Brisbane, Australia will compete in the 100 metre and 200m sprint race.

The 20-year old holds the 100m sprint record with a time of 12.44 seconds.

She will be joined on the track by 18-year-old Alex Beddoes who will compete in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m races.

Beddoes is the national junior and senior 800m record holder after setting a blistering time of 1.55.30 in December 2012.

Local police officer Tereapii Tapoki makes her comeback to the field in Wallis and Futuna where she will compete in discus and shot put.

The three athletes will be under the watchful eye of team manager Ina Marsters.

On the water – national sailors Teau McKenzie, who is currently schooling in New Zealand will be the sole female sailor for the Cooks and will be joined on the water by male counterparts Taua Elisa and Junior Charlie who will compete as individuals and as a team.

The sailing team will be managed by Anne Tierney and accompanied by coach and former national sailor Helema Williams.

All three sailors are Pacific Games gold and silver medallists.

On the lifting stage – the Cooks will be represented by the nation’s sole female weightlifter Luisa Peters.

Peters has been training hard at the weightlifting institute in New Caledonia under legendary weightlifting coach Paul Coffer.

Peters has made tremendous improvements to her total lift weight and overall lifting technique that are expected to produce medals in Wallis and Futuna.

Peters will be managed by Unakea Kauvai.

The Cook Islands are confident of a successful medal haul at the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna, despite sending a much smaller team than for previous events.

Team Cook Islands atheltes and managers will be led by chef de mission Robert Graham and administration delegate Siniva Marsters, CISNOC president Hugh Graham and associate minister of sport John Henry.

Chef de mission Robert Graham has high hopes for Team Cook Islands.

“The Cook Islands flag, in Wallis, will be raised a few times on the results that we’ve got at the moment of our athletes and based on what other results we are collecting within the region,” Graham told reporters.

“When we send teams overseas it’s not just for the sake of going overseas but we do jump online and check other countries with their athletes that are going to the Games - where they are, where it places us as well - so we have a fair idea of where we will be looking at in particular codes or particular sports.”

Daily coverage of the team’s progress while in Wallis and Futuna will be provided by Cook Islands News chief reporter and sports photojournalist Matariki Wilson who is traveling with the team as team press attach.

The games open in Wallis and Futuna on Monday, September 2 and will see hundreds of athletes from 21 Pacific nations compete in eight sports codes for national pride and top honours.