The 2023 Team Cook Islands at the 7th Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. From left: Teaea Parima (Athletics Coach), Ana Ellison-Lupena (Athletics), Nelio George (Athletics), Lanihei Connolly (Swimming), Emma Papalii (Athletics), Sandra Burrow (Swimming Coach and Female Chaperone) and Team Leader - Jason Lindsay. SUPPLIED/ 23080723
The Cook Islands athletes participating in the 7th Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago are performing extremely well having placed in the top 10 rankings in their respective events.
The event is being held from August 4-11, and is
restricted to those between the ages of 14-18. Over 1000 athletes and para
athletes are participating in seven sports managed by 500+ officials.
The Cook Islands youth representatives are: Ana
Ellison-Lupena (discus), Emma Papalii (shotput and discus), Lanihei Connolly
(aquatics) and Nelio George (javelin and discus).
Team manager Jason Lindsay said: “The athletes are
feeling very proud to be representing the Cook Islands. Thank you to everyone
back home for your support.”
“Our young athletes have put in strong (performances),
they really stood strong and represented our nation with true Cook Islands
Lanihei Connolly swam her personal best in the Women’s
50m Breaststroke in which she finished eighth overall. She also finished eighth
overall in the 200m individual medley.
Lanihei Connolly and Nelio George led the 2023 Team Cook Islands at the 7th Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. SUPPLIED/ 23080801
Connolly expressed that although some races were not
her best performances, she has acquired more knowledge and experience and is
“so happy” to be representing the Cook Islands on the international stage.
Nelio George from the island of Aitutaki finished sixth
overall in the discus event throwing a personal best. His last event is javelin
which starts today.
Emma Papalii finished fourth overall in the women’s shot
put, and sixth overall in the discus also throwing her personal best.
“I am happy that I took our nation into the top 10,
placing 6th and 4th. I was hoping to get a personal best
in shot put, but I am very thankful,” said Papalii.
Ana Ellison-Lupena placed eighth overall in the discus
event, and is enjoying the challenge of striving for better success in her
Lindsay says he is “very proud” of the performances
from the athletes.
“I’m extremely happy with the performances from our
athletes here in Trinidad. Although we were faced with some transport issues
that could have affected their performances, they kept it together, stayed strong
and represented our country extremely well.
“Their willingness to meet and make new friends, learn
about new cultures, and the respect they have for representing our nation in
these Commonwealth (Youth) Games make me proud to be leading this contingent.”
The flagbearers at the opening ceremony were Nelio
George and Lanihei Connolly who wore stunning bright TAV’s outfits proudly
leading the team in the parade.
Athletics coach Teaea Parima and Sandra Burrow
(swimming coach and female chaperone) also accompanied the team to Trinidad