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High hopes for Pacific Games

Wednesday 27 September 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Athletics, Other Sports, Pacific Games 2023, Sports


High hopes for Pacific Games
Mark Short. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 23092504

Cook Islands team to the Pacific Games 2023 in Honiara, Solomon Islands this year is looking to increase their medal tally.

The team had achieved 18 medals in Samoa in 2019 and this year they are looking to surpass that with at least 25 medals.

Chef de Mission, Mark Short said: “On one side, we are hoping that we can increase our medal count. On the other side we are also hoping to provide exposure to the younger athletes that have an interest in sports.”

He said they are also hoping the Pacific Games will be an eye opener for the younger athletes and help them grow in their sporting career.

Also read:

> Athletes eye personal bests

> Nine athletes from Athletics Cook

> More than 180 Cook Islands athletes for Pacific Games

More than 200 athletes and officials will represent team Cook Islands in November.

The team is expected to depart on November 10, while some who are training abroad will depart Australia and New Zealand earlier.

He said for the games, this year Team Cook Islands does not have a bowling team because this depends on the host country.

“Whichever country hosts the sports decides on what codes will be played. So they don't have bowling, so there’s no bowling team this year.”

Short said at the moment they have been preparing extremely hard to take the team to the Solomon Islands.

“You will probably notice that a lot of the different Federations have been fundraising. Often on Saturdays, you'll see them washing cars, raffle tickets and my heart goes out to them because it is extremely difficult, especially trying to find our way to the Solomon Islands.”

He said the federations have been fundraising a lot for resources such as playing uniforms, first aid kits, the physios and the managers.

He said so far they are going through the accreditation process as they want to limit or reduce the possibility of other countries protesting against Cook Islands athletes.

“So we have to ensure that we have the background information on them. What is their connection to the Cook Islands, the genealogy, the passport, residence? So there's a lot of work behind the scenes that a lot of the staff at Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) are doing.”

CISNOC is also organising a church service for the whole team, a marae visit for cultural blessing and uniform blessings revealing a lot of the new uniforms.

Meanwhile, athletes include:

Boxing- Michael Schuster and Tawhiri Toheriri Hallet.

Swimming- Bade Atiu, Lanihei Connolly, Kirsten Fisher-Marsters and Wesley Roberts.

Weightlifting- Jerome Tura, Tehei Napa

Athletics- Alex Beddoes, Ana Ellison Lupena,Daniel Tolosa, Estelle Short, Max Teururaa, PiritauNga, Rupeni Mataitoga, Tatiana Sherwin and Willyn Karina.

Team sports are: basketball (5X5 women), (men and women 3X3), beach volleyball (men) and Football (men and women) golf (men and women), Netball (women) Oe Vaka (men and women), Rugby 9’s (men and women, rugby 7’s (men and women), tennis (men and women) and touch rugby (men and women, who will also form a mixed team).