Cook Islands Touch president/player and flagbearer Julieanne (Julz) Westrupp with Tashi Kopu. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23111803
‘We are here to make our people proud’, is the message from Team Cook Islands flagbearer and touch rugby veteran Julieanne Westrupp. Losirene Lacanivalu reports from Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Cook Islands athletes are settling in comfortably and preparing to face their
opponents as the 2023 Pacific Games officially begins today with the opening
ceremony in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
some federations, such as football, tennis, and basketball teams, having
already started their Pacific Games campaign this week, the atmosphere at the
Cook Islands Athletes Village at Saint Nicholas College is excitement filled
the heat in Honiara, athletes are seen adjusting to the weather and constantly
attending training sessions.
Team Cook Islands chef de mission Mark Short with weightlifting coach Luisa Peters and CISNOC’s Jason Lindsay at the Cook Islands camp in Honiara. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23111804
rugby does not start until the second week of the Pacific Games, but federation
president Julieanne (Julz) Westrupp is already in Honiara, alongside Sevens’
captain Stephen Willis, to serve as flag bearers for Team Cook Islands at the
opening ceremony today.
needed to be here for the opening. Everything has been really, really good. The
people of the Solomon Islands have been really nice,” Westrupp said.
accommodation is really good; the beds are good. You know, I wouldn’t complain
about anything, and the food is really good.
only issue would be the heat. That’s all that we’re worried about. Otherwise,
everything’s been really smooth.”
touch team consists of 14 men and women.
acknowledged that many of the teams had challenges getting to Honiara,
especially as they waited for the league team to arrive yesterday.
league Nines men’s and women’s teams were left stranded in Auckland and Nadi,
Fiji, after their flights were cancelled and had to travel through Australia to
yesterday said: “A lot of us have had challenges getting here. We waited for
our league team that arrives later this evening. We just want to let our family
and friends know that we are keeping them in our hearts and our thoughts and
please pray for us.”
we’re here to do business. We’re here to make our people proud.”
men’s touch team is in New Zealand for some friendly matches before they make
their way to the Solomon Islands.
women’s football team played their first match on Thursday (Cook Islands time)
against New Caledonia, losing 2-5.
captain Susan Williams said their performance wasn’t too bad, and they were
still finding their footing after a long journey to Honiara.
From left: Cook Islands women’s football captain Susan Williams, with Fiji's Angelina Rekha, Cook Islands TV reporter Nicolea Mateariki and Cook Islands footballer Katarina Piri. Photo: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23111801
are just regrouping ourselves and getting ourselves ready and equipped to play
our next game, which will be on Monday, and we will be playing PNG for that
said they have not had time to watch much of the other matches but have heard
that PNG recorded a huge win against Samoa.
guess PNG will be a big game for us to look forward to, and just excited to see
how we go against them.”
coach Luisa Peters says her two athletes, Tehei Napa and Jerome Tura’s,
preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games has been good.
will start her weightlifting competition on Sunday in the 55-kilogram category
and Tura on Tuesday in the 89kg division.
been here for a couple of days now, which is good for the athletes, as they can
get used to the heat, and we’re not used to this kind of heat,” Peters said.
added that they have been able to train with some of the other countries that
the two athletes will be competing against.
veteran of the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, Peters shared some
advice she gives her athletes, especially those competing at international
tournaments for the first time: “You’ve done all the hard work, you know, just
come here, be humble.”
just keep in mind all the hard work that you’ve been doing in the past. This is
where you showcase not only to the people but also to yourselves, put all that
hard work into action.”
acknowledged all the supporters, saying it has been a big year for
weightlifting as they have travelled a lot for competitions this year.
Cook Islands president Davina Hosking-Ashford spoke to Cook Islands News on the
second day of the team’s matches yesterday.
Cook Islands’ Lillian Maui in action at the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Cook Islands women’s team lost to Guam by 0-3 and played Samoa yesterday in Group A team competition. Pacific Games Solomon Islands/23111702
said that on Thursday, the women played well but went down 0-3 in the tie, but
the girls gave it their all against Guam.
men played against Nauru on day one and won 2-1 in the tie.
Payne (Sebastian) won his singles, and he partnered with Jason Pierre to win
their doubles in their first match.
day two, the women played Samoa and finished two singles of their tie, but both
said they did play well.
Sunday, there will be more team events for the boys, and the girls might have a
bye, she said. And on the following day are semifinals and finals, followed by
the scorching sun, Hosking-Ashford said the team was keeping in good spirits
and they are loving the tennis matches.