Ioana Puna and Otea Tommy, both 16, have had solid training sessions in the new craft under the Cook Islands Canoeing Association’s kayak development programme.
To help the rising kayak paddlers cover costs while at the championships, which also include the New Zealand Nationals, a sausage sizzle fundraiser will be held at the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday morning.
Show your support for the young paddlers and have a sausage for breakfast on Saturday morning.
The pair will be accompanied by coach Josh Utanga who says the kayaking duo have been impressive in their dedication to consistent training five mornings a week for the past two months. They have trained in all kinds of weather to master the K1 class of canoe.
Utanga says that both talented paddlers will trial out for the Pacific Games in July in oe vaka and the association is managing that added pressure to the young men both on and off the water.
“They are both very professional and humble for their years and will be exceptional ambassadors for the Cook Islands with the potential to succeed in winning medals,” he says.
With more than 500 paddling athletes from Australia, New Zealand and across the Pacific attending the Oceania Championships, Puna and Atoa are sure to gain invaluable experience and tips at the regatta.
Among the paddling elite taking part is three time world champion and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington who is the world record holder in the K1 220m.
The two local paddlers will race in the Olympic Class K1 200m under 18 sprints.
Sponsors keen to see these two young men shine in the sport and anyone who would like to make a donation towards the K1 campaign can contact 55092. Otherwise you can show your support by buying a sausage sizzle from the young athletes on Saturday morning.