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2022 Pacific Mini Games Athlete Profiles – Paddling

Thursday 9 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Other Sports, Sports

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2022 Pacific Mini Games Athlete Profiles – Paddling
Photo: RNZ

Cook Islands News profiles two athletes who will be representing the country in paddling for the Pacific Mini Games, which will get underway on June 17.

Tara Cummings. Photo: CI News/17062941

Tara Cumming

Age – 37

Village and island – Ruatonga/Avatiu, Rarotonga

What future goals/ambitions you have in the sport? Be a great ambassador for my country, support develop and inspire others.

What ambitions you have outside of sports (career, education, etc)? Always strive to be better than your best self.

What you love about your sport? Supports and improve mental health, lower stress levels, develops and boost self-confidence out in the open sea, able to meet and develop new contacts, fun and challenging in every level of competition and generally just like every other water sport – you gain overall physical workout.

What events and competitions have you competed in? Noumea, New Caledonia 2011 Pacific Games, IVF Worlds Vaa Championship Tahiti 2018, Pacific Games Port Moresby PNG 2019, Te Aito Tahiti, Aito Cook Islands, Vaka Eiva, Cook Island Nationals.

Achievements in the sport (medals, placings, representing the country, personal bests etc)? 1. V6 Silver Medallist – Pacific Games Noumea NC 2011, 2. V6 Silver Medallist – Pacific Games Port Moresby PNG 2015, 3. IVF Worlds Vaa Championship Tahiti 2018 – placed 5th in the V1 Open Womens division, 4. V6 Bronze Medallist – Pacific Game’s Port Moresby PNG 2019, 5. Top tier - Nationals, Vaka Eiva Cook Islands

What pushed you to compete at international level? The urge to pursue multiple levels of skills, strength and knowledge in all aspects of sport and promote Cook Islands culture.


Andre Tutaka-George

Age – 27

Village and island – Atiu descent

What future goals/ambitions you have in the sport? To bring home a medal from all the prestigious races. Outrigging paddling is not in the Olympics yet but when it does. A need for a high-performance facility is essential and I want to be a part of this programme developing myself for racing and if not developing others.

What ambitions you have outside of sports (career, education, etc)? To learn everything and develop multiple streams of income that require low maintenance.        

What you love about your sport? I love the thrill from surfing big waves.

Being out on the water you feel a sense of submissive. You are at the ocean’s discretion but at the same time you need to be in control and know your limits or push them and suffer the consequences if any. Being out on the water I get a sense of rejuvenation from being away from the responsibilities and stress from being on land. The coordination of the body to perform the paddling stroke, and the timing involved for each muscle to contract from head to bottom while under physical stress is a challenging aspect of the sport that I enjoy.

What events and competitions have you competed in/what are notable achievements? Events: 2008 – 2017 Vaka Eiva, 2011 – Te Aito (Cook Islands), 2011 – Te Aito (Tahiti), 2011 – SPG (New Caledonia), 2011 – Oceania champs (NZ), 2012 – Oceania Champs (Aus), 2012 – Te Aito (Cook Islands), 2013 – Oceania Champs (NZ), 2013 – Australia youth Olympic festival, 2013 Grand Prix Races (Aus), 2013 – World Championships (Germany), 2013 – Australian Marathon Nationals, 2013 – Te Aito (Aus), 2013 – Hamilton Island (Aus), 2013 – Gubbi Gubbi (Aus), 2014 – Oceania Champs (Aus), 2014 Grand Prix Races (Aus), 2014 – Sprint Nationals (Aus), 2014 – Marathon Nationals (Aus), 2016 – Oceania Champs (Aus), 2019 – Samoa SPG, 2020 – Cook Island games.

Achievements – Samoa SPG – bronze medal in 500m V1 and bronze medal in 16km V1

What pushed you to compete at international level? Racing my first international race which was the Vaka Eiva 2008 and 2009. We had teams from New Zealand and Australia coming over and beating us by miles. So I got fed up with it and trained up to let those countries know that Cook Islands is dangerously competitive in outrigger paddling.

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