All smiles, Rarotonga-based athlete Tikove Piira before departing Rarotonga to compete in the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, United States. SUPPLIED/22071203
Cook Islands will be represented by a lone athlete at the World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, United States from July 15–24.
Rarotonga-based athlete Tikove Piira and coach Ruth Mave, who is also the Athletics Cook Islands secretary, left Rarotonga for United States yesterday afternoon.
The 22-year-old police officer will be competing in
his second World Champs after making his debut at the 2019 World Athletics
Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Piira, originally from Pukapuka, is looking forward to
setting a personal best in his 100 metres sprint event and to meet up with the
athletes from Tonga and Fiji along with the other Oceania athletes as well as
meeting elite high-performance athletes from around the world.
“I hope my friends and community in Pukapuka and the
islands are inspired to join sports especially athletics. I encourage them to
train regularly and set goals and they can travel with sports but there are
more opportunities with athletics,” he said.
Mave said Piira had been suffering from a hamstring
injury during the last World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“This year he has gone from strength to strength and remained injury free,” she
said, adding, “So we are hoping for a good personal best time.”
“There is a strong Pacific islands team going to World
Champs and the boys get together and train and compete amongst themselves on
the world stage.”
Piira after gaining a scholarship to school at Tereora
College took up athletics and has continually improved and travelled with the
He was part of the bronze winning relay team at the
2019 Oceania Championships but due to time commitments with his job as a police
officer, he was unable to make the 2022 competition, Mave said.
Piira has embraced all aspects of athletics on and off the field. He was part of the Athletics Development officers along with 800 metres runner Alex Beddoes who started introducing kid’s athletics into local primary and secondary schools with Mave as their trainer.
“Teaching classes was new to both athletes but they were both very good with the students and well liked as facilitators,” Mave said.
“This experience led Piira to want to be a teacher. He
undertook the Level 1 World Athletics recognised coaching course successfully
passing and winning a new stopwatch. When he wasn’t chosen for the last
education induction, he applied for the police force and now successfully
continues his good work for the community with them.”
Piira also works as an official at local athletics
events and is a coach and mentor for many of the Pukapuka athletes here and on
his home island, preparing for the Cook Island Games later in the year.
At the World Champs, Mave will also represent Cook Islands Athletics at the various conference meetings that are held simultaneously at the championships and is particularly looking forward to meeting those involved in the Kids Athletics Commission.
She has worked with the Commission from afar providing feedback and videos of our children undertaking the new training activities that are now part of a worldwide roll out online. This global platform called kids-athletics.org is available to everyone free of charge and covers activities and training modules for teachers and coaches of all ages from five years to 13 years.
Other topics to be covered will be dealing with gender
equity, safeguarding and new competition rulings.
This weekend Piira will be competing in the 100m heats
in USA and top local athlete Alex Beddoes will be competing in 800m in Belgium in
preparation for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.