Mangaia’s Royden Aperau, middle, won the National Singles U26 title. SUPLIED/21042629
The inaugural TRAR 26 & Under National Singles Championship saw an intense battle for top place between two emerging bowling stars.
Mangaia’s Royden Aperau claimed the inaugural TRAR 26 &
Under National Singles Championship title after beating Rakahanga’s Emily Jim
in an exciting showdown last week.
The weeklong tournament featuring 17 competitors, eight of
which were new to the sport, concluded with the finals on Thursday at the
Rarotonga Bowling Club.
Tournament coordinator Jason Lindsay said the final between
Aperau and Jim was played with great sportsmanship and “really outstanding
level of bowls”.
The two received an all-expenses paid trip to Burnside,
Christchurch to compete in the New Zealand Under 26 Singles in October this
They will be managed and coached by Lindsay at this event.
“This is the first time we have been allowed entries into
this NZ event due to the growing relationship between Cook Islands Bowls and
Bowls NZ,” Lindsay said.
Christina Paio of Rakahanga finished third while Manihiki’s
Alana Kairua managed fourth spot.
Phillip Teopenga won the plate final overcoming Puki Timoti
of Pukapuka while Ioane Tou (Rarotonga) and Temata Vainepoto (Atiu) managed
third and fourth places, respectively.
The final was, for the first time, live streamed online.
“Thank you to the Ministry of Cultural Development and Byron Brown for helping
with this. A fantastic event that really showcased the talent this age group
has to offer to our sport.”
At the prizegiving, president of Cook Islands Bowls Unakea
Kauvai announced that they would be opening the event up to international
Invitations will be sent to some of Australia and New
Zealand’s best under-26 bowlers to compete in next year’s event.
Lindsay said: “This will not only help increase the level of
competition but also expose our local players to some of the best young bowlers
the world has to offer which can only help grow and develop their own games.”
The organisers thanked sponsors TRAR – Teaui, Romatt, Adoni,
Romatt Wichman Rairoa and their parents Mere and Tokoa Rairoa, Sava Ltd, Kai
Pizza, Cook Islands Tourism, Vodafone Cook Islands, Raro Fried Chicken, Te
Araveka Ltd and Ministry of Cultural Development.