The duo yesterday defeated Malta to claim bronze medal in the men’s pairs event at the games being played on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Zittersteijn and Paniani made it through to the quarter-final after an excellent performance in the preliminary rounds, where they only lost one match to New Zealand.
In the quarters, the national side defeated South Africa 15-14 in a close encounter.
Cook Islands lost to Wales 14-21 in the semi-final and took on Malta in the bronze medal playoff and won 17-11. Wales eventually won the gold medal beating Scotland 12-10 in the final.
Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) acting secretary general Siniva Marsters said it was a proud moment for the country.
“Amazing atmosphere at the lawn bowls venue with Team Kuki supporters packed out at the stadium to watch our two boys. Blessings from above for these two outstanding athletes who have made history for Cook Islands being the first to ever win a medal at any Commonwealth Games,” she said.
Paniani managed the first ever silver medal at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa in the mixed pairs.
Zittersteijn, who comes from the Marsters family, claimed his first ever international title for the Cook Islands.
“This is the greatest day for all Cook Islanders,” Marsters said.