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National athletics team bags bronze

Friday 10 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Athletics, Sports


National athletics team bags bronze
Cook Islands athletics team members Daniel Tolosa, Piritau Nga, Edward Nga and Lala Pasina with their bronze medal from the senior men 4x100 metres relay event. SUPPLIED/22060912

Team Cook Islands bagged their first medal at the Oceania Area Championships held in Mackay, Australia.

The national athletics team grabbed bronze medal in the senior men 4x100 metres relay event on Wednesday (Cook Islands time).

The relay team comprised of two jumpers, a thrower and a sprinter.

First runner Edward Nga, 23, who also took part in the high jump event, said he was nervous at the start but after a short prayer, he managed to get his focus back.

Nga said he was “pretty excited and shocked” with their bronze medal run.

Second runner Piritau Nga, 20, who will also take part in the high, long, triple jump events, had a hamstring injury treated at physio/chiro tent before the race.

Nga, who was in ice and limping onto the podium, said it was all worth the pain.

Fifteen-year-old Lala Pasina, who was the third runner, is representing the country in shot put at the championships.

“I never sprinted or did a relay before but I enjoyed it. It was all good,” Pasina said.

National team sprinter Daniel Tolosa, who was the final runner, is also taking part in the 100 metres, 200m and 400m races.

“I am thankful to the Lord,” the 17-year-old said, quoting Psalm 34:2.

Athletics Cook Islands secretary Ruta Mave is managing the team alongside coaches Michael Tolosa and Teaea Parima and said they were proud with the bronze medal win.

“The Cook Islands team arrived in Mackay Australia (over the weekend) after two days travelling and were greeted with sunny skies and dry heat. The athletics track is an open area with incredible up to the minute amazing equipment and recording devices but no grandstand, so viewing is up close and personal at the track side,” Mave said.

“Athletes from nations as far spread as Guam and Saipan as well as neighbours from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga mix and mingle with distant cousins from French Polynesia – Tahiti, Vanuatu, PNG, Northern Marineras and America Samoa. A strong presence of Australians was expected along with New Zealand and in the senior division we were able to watch and witness the speed, height and distances from some of the Olympians of these countries.

“Nerves were to be expected with the athletes. A lot of the younger participants are at the start of the U18 division have seen where they could be in another three years’ time of training and competing.”

In between races, the coaches have been able to attend seminars held at the track and university to increase their knowledge and understanding of strength and conditioning from the top trainers in Australian athletics team, Mave said.

Some of the areas covered during the seminars were “understanding loading and programming in new and innovative ways – the results of which are having a huge impact on young Australian throwers coming through especially in javelin, important exercises for preventative and injury recovery information from trained physiotherapists and chiropractors who are also onsite for free assessments and adjustments for the athletes, wellness and psychological safeguarding of not only the coaches or management staff but also the athletes who will have the opportunity to listen and learn from Dame Valerie Adams on the same subject and how to develop and understand para athletics in the Cook Islands”.

The athletes representing Cook Islands are: Senior Men – Piritau Nga – Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Edward Nga – High jump; U20 Elijah Poila – Shotput, Discus; U18 Lala Pasina – Shotput, Emma Paplii – Shotput, Discus, Anzia Tere – 100m, Maya Postrzygacz 800m, and Daniel Tolosa 100m, 200m, 400m.