Team Manihiki is leaving no stone unturned in their preparation for the Cook Islands Games to be held from October 3 to 17.
Eugene Kaina, the chairman of the Manihiki association in Rarotonga, said they are fielding over 200 athletes and supporters at the Games.
Team Manihiki will compete in 21 codes – they are not participating in soccer and cricket.
“Most of our athletes had already committed to the codes they wanted to participate in at the Games when soccer was confirmed as one of the codes,” Kaina said.
“And we are not cricket people.”
Unlike some of the other teams, Team Manihiki is not relying on any big names.
“The aim for us is to give our home-grown athletes who have been living in Rarotonga for years but have deep connections to Manihiki a chance to represent the island,” Kaina said.
“There are also some talks about bringing a couple of boys from the island but we are not sure whether there are any flights to and from the island in the coming weeks.”
Kaina said they were “going all out” in their preparation to ensure a “gold medal winning performance” at the Games.
“Everyone is going crazy at the training sessions in the morning and afternoon. Some of the players will be competing in multiple codes so we have to make sure they are able to attend all their training sessions,” he said.
“We are not going there to make up the numbers. Our aim is to finish high in all the events we will be competing in. We are going for gold in all the sports.
“Manihiki taku fakatara anga.”
Cook Islands Games aims to promote island pride: “a celebration of sport; a celebration of our islands and a celebration of our nation.”
It is also to provide the country’s athletes a competitive opportunity and an opportunity to pursue excellence and advance their sporting ambitions.