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Cook Islands teens ready to fly the flag at NZ Secondary Schools Champs

Wednesday 6 December 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Athletics, Sports

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Cook Islands teens ready to fly the flag at NZ Secondary Schools Champs
Athletics Cook Islands youth athletes Emma Louisa Papalii and Nuku Koroa, with manager/coach Marie William, left, before departing for New Zealand. ACI/23120513

Sixteen-year-old athletes Emma Louisa Papalii and Nuku Koroa will be representing Cook Islands at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Track, Field and Road Race Championships in Christchurch this weekend.

Papalii, a Tereora College student, will be competing in the senior girl’s discus and shot put events.

Mangaia College student Koroa will be competing in the senior boy’s discus and javelin events.

Athletics Cook Islands president Simone Fe’ao said Koroa was scouted by coach Teaea Parima at the 2022 Cook Islands Games.

Fe’ao added that the youngster had been training in Mangaia and joined Athletics Cook Islands’ youth development academy in Rarotonga in July this year.

“His commitment even though he lives remotely in Mangaia has been impressive and we look forward to seeing him perform at his first international opportunity.”

This is also Koroa’s first overseas trip.

Fe’ao said that Papalii has been a long-time athlete training under coach Parima.

However, Parima took a break from coaching in September due to medical reasons.

“We are grateful for Marie William, Emma’s mum who has stepped in to coach Emma and manage the team going this year.

“This is Emma’s third New Zealand competition and she will be working hard for a podium finish. She is a determined well-seasoned athlete and we believe you can do it Emma.”

Both athletes have been training very hard this year and look forward to flying the Cook Islands flag with pride in New Zealand, Athletics Cook Islands said.

The association and the athletes have acknowledged everyone that has supported them with their fundraising, and also their coaches, family and friends and the people of the Cook Islands for encouraging and cheering them on.

The Youth Development team will be competing from December 8-10 in Christchurch.

The New Zealand Secondary School Track, Field and Road Race Championships will celebrate its 50-year jubilee this weekend.