Team Mangaia are the 2022 Champions of the 2022 Cook Islands Games. 22101621
In a blaze of glory, a stunning fireworks display closed the 2022 Cook Islands Games at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Shelving aside sporting rivalry, the wonderful spirit
of the Cook Islands Games shone through in the camaraderie, unity and pride beaming
from the participants of the 10 islands who paraded together in arms for the
Over 800 medals were awarded to the successful young
and older athletes from the 3200 who registered and competed across 25 sports codes.
National records were broken in a multitude of
different sports codes showing the high standards of sports and the dedication
from the athletes.
Representatives from New Zealand and overseas based
athletes also returned to Rarotonga to represent their islands.
“The Games is about pride, activity, sporting
excellence and the Cook Islands Games of 2022 has delivered,” said Prime
Minister Mark Brown.
The first Games took place in 2020 in the middle of
the Covid pandemic.
“It brought our country together at a time we needed it
most,” said Brown.
“So today, we have showed that even though our country
is back in full swing, back in full flow we can still produce a Games that
unites and gives us something to celebrate.
“This is the power of sport and it shows our Cook
Islands spirit, we love our heritage, we love our islands and we love our
country. You all did very well.”
Brown acknowledged the employers, the private and
public sectors, who allowed the participants to be able to take part in their
sport over the two weeks.
“We have seen the island pride in these Games and
islands have adopted the new PRs (Permanent Residents) and the expatriate
community to join their home islands,” said Brown.
Sports has health benefits and can be a vehicle to
address a number of social issues like NCDs (non communicable diseases) and
obesity, Brown noted.
The Games is a joint initiative by three parties – the
National Sports Federations, Island Sports Associations and the Cook Islands
Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC).
Owen Lewis, the secretary general of CISNOC, addressed
the ceremony on behalf of president Hugh Graham who is representing the country
overseas at an international forum.
Lewis praised the efforts of the athletes, island
teams administrators, CISNOC staff, Tauranga Vananga/Ministry of Culture
Development, Red Cross, supporters and everyone involved in the Games.
The 100 dancers of the Aka’uka cultural exercise dance
group who embrace women of all shapes and sizes wowed the audience with their
routine, with some of the Island teams joining in on the entertainment.
The islands of: Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki,
Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Pukapuka/Nassau, Rakahanga and Rarotonga
participated in the 2022 Games. Penrhyn Island did not field a team.