Manihiki's Mahai and Zerah Daniel shows off their medals at the Cook Islands Games closing ceremony in October. BCI/(Tabby Berg/Creators Hype)/20101803
Despite cancellations of several sporting events due to Covid-19, there were plenty memories made on and off the field in 2020.
Here are some of the moments that shaped 2020.
Bears claim Nines title
The young and spirited Arorangi Bears stunned top teams to
win the Bishop’s Cruises Cook Islands Rugby League Nines in Paradise tournament
over the weekend. The Bears defeated Avatiu Eels 10-0 in the final on Saturday
to finish the two-day tournament held at the BCI Stadium in Nikao, undefeated.
Local junior tennis players to compete in Auckland tourney
Cook Islands tennis junior representatives will compete in
the upcoming Regional Tier Two tournament of the Tennis Auckland Championships
The tournament will be held from January 9 to 13 at Scarbro
Tennis Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.
Touch season off to ‘perfect’ start
The 2020 Touch season received a perfect build-up ahead of
their domestic competition, thanks to the Cook Islands Beach Games. The games
which is being held at the Beach Courts in Nikao features four sports. Apart
from Touch rugby which ended on Tuesday, the event also has 3x3 basketball,
handball and beach volleyball competitions.
Kiwi pair win VolleyFest Cook Islands
New Zealand now has a gold medal winning team on the FIVB
World Tour as Griffin Muller and Sam O’Dea posted a pair of wins on Friday over
teams from the United States to capture the inaugural VolleyFest Cook Islands.
The seventh event on the 2019-2020 FIVB World Tour men’s
calendar, the seventh-seeded Muller and O’Dea posted a 2-1 (21-14, 20-22, 15-7)
win in 52 minutes over ninth-seeded Americans Christopher Austin/Earl Schultz
to secure the milestone gold medal win for New Zealand while collecting the
US$1000 ($1510) first-place prize.
By the skin of the teeth
Tupapa couldn’t get a win out of their two qualifier matches
– but two draws was enough to put them through to the Champions League. Tupapa
Maraerenga football club twice came from a goal down to secure a 2-2 draw with
Veitongo FC – and to qualify for the group stages of the Oceania Champions
Tupapa needed only a draw from the qualifying stage contest
in Auckland last night, after they also drew with Samoan club Lupe Ole Soaga SC
earlier in the week.
League player fined, warned
The player alleged to have manhandled a referee after League
Nines final last month has been handed a monetary player after a special
judicial hearing this week. Tai Nelio, the Cook Islands Rugby League
competition coordinator, said after reviewing the complaint from the referee,
the judicial committee decided to impose a monetary fine as well as give a
caution warning to the Avatiu player. The fine has to be paid before Thursday,
Netball records shortfall
The national netball body recorded a small loss of $207
after spending a bulk of $152,618 income on the national teams. The Black
Pearls took part in a number of international events which has resulted in its
improved 12th ranking.
Photo by Tokerau Jim / 19062701
According to the financial report which was tabled at
Wednesday’s annual general meeting, Netball Cook Islands’ total annual income
Skurosz wins prestigious Coastal Challenge
Local athlete Adrianna Skurosz won the tough Coastal
Challenge in Auckland last weekend. Skurosz claimed the female category after
finishing the 33 kilometre race in a time
of 4 hours 19.32 minutes. She finished 24 overall.
Skurosz learnt about this race from fellow runners competing
at Tarawera Ultra two weeks earlier.
Iro for World Cup
Tony Iro will coach Cook Islands at the Rugby League World
Cup 2021, confirmed the sport’s national body. An Australian media reported
that former Kangaroos coach Wayne Bennett has been appointed to guide the Kukis
to the World Cup which will be held in England. But Charles Carlson, the
chairman of the Cook Islands Rugby League Association, refuted the report.
Sports shut down
The country’s major team sports have called off all their
games – but rugby league refused to go down without a fight. Rugby league boss
Charles Carlson has defended his code’s initial refusal to help combat the Covid-19
virus by calling off its games. Cook Islands Rugby League finally cancelled its
local competition yesterday – but only after being publicly called out by
Secretary of Health Dr Josephine Herman for failing to understand the
significance of the country’s challenge. (League later cancelled the domestic
Annual sports awards postponed
Cook Islands Sports Awards has been postponed until further
notice due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although there are no cases of Covid-19
in the country, Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee says they
are taking a proactive approach of cancelling the event.
Football ‘unhappy’ at cancellation
Oceania Football Confederation executive committee has
agreed to cancel its Nations Cup 2020. The qualifying stage event, scheduled to
take place in Cook Islands last month. was first postponed. Now it’s been
called off entirely.
The decision was made in light of the complexities posed due
to the coronavirus pandemic, said the confederation. Pauline Dean, Cook Islands
Football’s competition and club licensing manager, said they had been ready to
host the tournament.
Father-son pair triumph
Father-son pair Brian and Brett Baudinet claimed the Senior
Doubles Tournament held at the National Tennis Courts in Nikao on Saturday.
However it was not an easy win for the top seeds in the
two-day tournament which featured 16 doubles pairs battling it out in Division
A and Division B.
The Baudinets had to overcome strong challenges in the
semi-final and the final to claim the top prize.
Alex Beddoes and Jane Nicholas were the big winners at last
night’s Cook Islands Sports Awards held at the Edgewater Resort and Spa.
Beddoes, double gold medallists at last year’s Pacific Games in Samoa, and
Nicholas who has qualified to represent the Cook Islands at the next Olympic
Games won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, respectively.
PHOTO: CI NEWS.
Cook Islands Games reboot
The Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee
(CISNOC) are hoping a reboot of the Cook Island Games will help boost domestic
athletes in the country. Cook Islands has a team of five set to represent the
country in the delayed Tokyo Olympics next year, but all of them are based
Owen Lewis, general secretary of the National Olympic
Committee, said the restrictions on international travel due to Covid-19 have
revealed they need to focus more on developing their athletes on home soil.
Contact sports can resume
Cabinet yesterday approved for contact sports to resume after
placing a temporary ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However Cook Islands
Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) is advising sporting federations
to adhere to hygiene practices at their upcoming events despite the country’s
Covid-19 free status.
KAPS claim Mixed Touch title
KAPS caused a major upset to get crowned the new champions
of the Vodafone Mixed Touch Competition. The side defeated top favourites 007
4-3 in a closely contested final on Wednesday at Nikao field.
If first you fail, Tri again
Swimmers brave ‘incredibly tough’ water conditions in the
38th annual Tin Man triathlon. Newbies vied with veterans in this weekend’s Tin
Man: Roland Neururer took out the men’s title for the 10th time, and Adrianna
Skurosz returned for her second victory in the women’s competition.
Biggest event since Covid-19 lockdown brings a crowd
Up to 500 people turned out this weekend for the biggest
Cook Islands event since the Covid-19 lockdown – the Kumete Games. It was all
fun and games at the Kumete Sports Day at BCI stadium this weekend. Village
teams participated in events ranging from 200m track to relay events, long jump
and shot put.
Avatiu/Nikao were this year’s champions, gaining 639 points
to beat out defending champions Arorangi on 444. Others teams’ scores were
Tupapa Maraerenga on 235, Ngatangiia/Matavera on 75 and Titikaveka on 58.
Netball to host junior comp
Netball Cook Islands will run a six week junior competition
after their domestic league earlier in the year got cancelled due to Covid-19.
The 2020 Rarotonga Netball Competition featuring the top
local clubs in age groups, seniors and premiers kicked off in early March,
‘Rusty’ appointed Moanas coach
Cook Islands Rugby League has appointed Anthony (Rusty)
Matua as the new coach of the national women’s team. The Auckland-based mentor
who served as the head coach of the New Zealand Maori Ferns last year will
guide the Moanas in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Matua, who is a Cook Islander, was also the assistant coach
of the Kiwi Ferns in the 2013 World Cup England.
No complaints, despite making a racquet!
An impressive turnout of 48 teams took to the courts to
compete in the first ‘Clash of the Generator’ fun Cook Islands badminton
The Princess Anne Hall was packed with families and friends who came along to show their support.
Football receives increased funding
Cook Islands Football Association will be receiving an
additional $150,000 annually from the Oceania body to boost the development of
the sport in the country. This after the Oceania Football Confederation
revealed it will invest an unprecedented $43 million directly into football
development in 2021 and 2022.
In a statement, OFC says it will increase its development
grant to its 11 member associations by more than $3 million in the coming two
years to allow them to place a stronger emphasis on governance and football
Grassroots Division of footballers in action at the CIFA complex. Photo: CIFA Media. 20111713.
Kite-licious all the way
Sixteen local businesses and government departments took to
the water at Vaiana’s beach in Nikao on Saturday for the corporate paddling
As always, it was a fun filled day with enthusiastic teams
pounding through the races.
Three years in a row
Confusion over extra time play rule as Tupapa Panthers beat
Avatiu Nikao Eels to win the domestic rugby union title for the third
consecutive year. Tupapa Panthers made a late comeback to retain the Rarotonga
Club 15s title in a thrilling showdown against Avatiu Nikao Eels on Saturday.
The final played at Raemaru Park in Arorangi had spectators from both sides on
the edge of their seats as the Panthers and Eels fought tooth and nail for the
Big hitters set cricket records
Two domestic records were set in the weekly Rarotonga
Cricket Club competition last week. Turangi’s June George became the first
female cricketer to score two centuries after smashing 121 runs – including 10
sixes – against Avana in the opening round of the women’s competition on
Her feat was followed by another milestone achievement –
Turangi batsman David Piakura blasting a 36-run over, a first in the local
competition – against Avana men’s side.
Let the Games begin!
Over 3000 athletes from 11 islands teams will compete in 24
sport codes at the Cook Islands Games. Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic
Committee president Hugh Graham addressed the audience at the opening ceremony
last night saying, “tonight, that dream comes true, congratulations”. “In 2020
the world certainly changed; the Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives.
Global economies have suffered including our own, but the Cook Islands Games
has certainly been a positive outcome that was borne out of this global
Athletics confirm new ‘hand held’ Cook Islands record
A mighty success is how Athletics Cook Islands saw the
recent Cook Islands Games and National Championships. New ‘hand held’ national
records were set in three relays during the high energy evening track sessions
at the Cook Islands Games last week. And Athletics Cook Islands say crowd
participation and engagement surely played a part in helping the top island
athletes to deliver these excellent results.
Olympian Alex Beddoes, competing in the 200 and 400 metres managed to
break a longstanding ‘hand held’ 200m national record.
Samoa Residents claim Tri Nations title
Samoa Residents last night claimed the 2020 Tri Nations
Series after beating Cook Islands Residents 28-20 in the third and final match
of the inaugural tournament. Both teams entered yesterday’s match undefeated
after beating Fiji Residents in the opening two matches.
Cook Islands Football pays tribute Diego Maradona
A short man with a huge sense of humour – that’s how local
football association president Lee Harmon described football legend Diego
Maradona, who passed away this week. Regarded as one of the greatest
footballers of all time, Maradona succumbed to a cardiac arrest on Wednesday,
aged 60. His death triggered mourning around the world including the Cook
Islands. The national football association yesterday paid tribute to the fallen
Holmes inspires upset win
Cook Islander Valentine Holmes played an instrumental role
in Queensland Maroons’ famous State of Origin win at Suncorp Stadium in
The Maroons, who entered the three-match series as
underdogs, won the decider 20-14 early yesterday. Holmes scored the opening try
of the match to give his Queensland side an early lead.
U16 Northern Stars make a clean sweep
Northern Stars have won both the U16 Boys and Girls 5X5
Avaiki Basketball Competition. The Western Knights won the open women event
while Southern Express took home the open men’s title.
Tupapa Panthers defeated Pukapuka 12-0 to defend the Raro
Sevens title. In the women’s competition, Avatiu reigned supreme after
overcoming Atiu. Rugby Sevens fans were treated to some top-class action on the
field at the Raro Rugby Sevens Tournament on December 4-5 at the National
Stadium. The theme for the Raro Rugby Sevens Tournament was “community” and
community spirit was alive and well both on and off the field.
Football’s new champions
Cook Islands Football Association’s Knockout Cup finals on
Saturday saw an epic battle between the teams vying for the premier men’s and
senior women’s titles. In the men’s final, Nikao Sokattak defeated former
champions Tupapa Maraerenga 2-1. In the women’s showdown, Puaikura who also
claimed the Round Cup title overcame Tupapa Maraerenga 2-0.
The Puaikura women’s team after winning the Round Cup and Knockout Cup final. CIFA Media/20121306
Matavera, Turangi crowned champions
A number of firsts dominated the 2020 Rarotonga Cricket Club
competition finals on Saturday. For the first time in the history of domestic
cricket competition, a super over decided the women’s final winner and a
hattrick was achieved in the men’s showdown. Held at the Turangi Oval, the
showdown featuring top Rarotonga clubs saw an intense battle between them for
In the women’s final, Turangi battled defending champions
Matavera. In the men’s final, Turangi overcame Nikao.