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Cook Islands athletes battle through World Cross Country Championship

Wednesday 10 April 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Athletics, Sports

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Cook Islands athletes battle through World Cross Country Championship
Adrianna Skurosz (left) with the overall winner of the race Jacob Kimplimo and Rupeni Mataitoga SUPPLIED/24040903

Cook Islands athletes Adrianna Skurosz and Rupeni Mataitoga have completed their course at the World Athletics Cross Country Championship in Belgrade, Serbia.

Athletics Cook Islands president Simone Fe’ao said both athletes completed the course and ran well in hot conditions and a very competitive field with finishing times of 48:30 minutes for Mataitoga and 49:42 mins for Skurosz.

Skurosz said she found the course very hard.

“It was flat but the obstacles definitely made it challenging. There were sections and two elevated ramps in blue colour that symbolises the rivers Dunube and Sava,” she said.

“There was also a zigzag made out of hay bales. The course was two kilometres long, so I had to run it five times.”

Skurosz said the weather on the day was very hot, sunny and dry.  

“I am happy I finished (the course). My time was just under 50 minutes which is good for a cross country event.

“It was a great experience to run with the best runners in the world. I wore ei katu and Cook Islands uniforms to all events and I was proud to tell people about my country and how beautiful it is.”

Mataitoga said the competition was a testament to hard work, dedication, and talent as a runner.

He said it was a chance to not only race against the best in the world but also to embody the spirit of sportsmanship and national pride.

“The feeling of representing the Cook Islands in cross country running was unique and an unforgettable honour,” Mataitoga said.

“I also got to learn a few new training techniques used for distance running.”

Mataitoga said he did not achieve his personal best, but with more local 10km competitions lined up for this year, he will be aiming to run good times for those events.