Cook Islands Youth (U18) side with officials. Picture: Jun Tanlayco/International Handball Federation/22121220
Cook Islands received a timely international exposure at the Men’s IHF Trophy Oceania tournament held last week in Rarotonga in preparation for a busy 2023 season.
Men’s IHF Trophy Oceania, which was held between 5 and 9 December at the
National Indoor Arena in Nikao, finished on Friday with five matches. Notably,
the winners in both age categories had been determined already on Thursday –
Tahiti claimed the title at the youth (U18) competitions, while Australia triumphed
at the junior (U20) event.
winners qualified for the Intercontinental Phase of the IHF Trophy. Besides,
Australia qualified for the 2023 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship in Germany
and Greece. As Tahiti cannot play at the World Championship due to their status
as regional members, the runners-up, New Zealand, secured a spot at the 2023
IHF Men’s Youth World Championship in Croatia.
Islands finished in fourth and fifth places in the Junior and Youth categories,
Cook Islands president Makiroa Mitchell-John said hosting the Men’s IHF Trophy
Oceania proved “quite daunting”.
Cook Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Tonga battled for the
title in the youth (U18) category, and the same nations except Tahiti played in
the junior (U20) tournament.
said: “We were given a fixed budget from the international federation and we
worked with the community especially our smaller businesses with caterings and
other services to successfully host this tournament.”
also thank our parents, families and supporters, we were overwhelmed by their
said Cook Islands will be taking part in a number of World Cup qualifying
events in 2023 including the U18 and U20 women’s tournaments.
said last week’s tournament also served as an eye opener for national players.
players did well but this tournament showed them what international level
really is. The attitude has to change, the mindset has to change and the
players have to commit to their trainings to play well at that level,”
the preparation time we had and our experience in indoor handball I think our
teams did well managing to put double digits against teams like Australia and
Meanwhile on the final day of the U18 competition, New Zealand earned silver
after beating direct rivals New Caledonia (27:17). The champions Tahiti
maintained their perfect record, defeating Tonga (57:20), and Australia
finished fourth following a victory against Cook Islands (23:16).
the U20 tournament, the champions Australia, who had won all their four
matches, did not play on Friday, and New Caledonia became runners-up after
beating Cook Islands (41:17). New Zealand earned bronze, as they ended the tournament
with a win against the last-placed Tonga (30:18).
Barff from Tahiti youth team and Daniel Reid from Australia junior team were
elected the MVP of the competitions.
With additional reporting by International Handball