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Pacific Islands

Young paddler has eyes firmly on sporting goals

Sunday 13 January 2019 | Published in Paddling


Young paddler has eyes firmly on sporting goals
Paddler Otea Tommy pictured training in New Zealand. 19011165

Young kayaker Otea Tommy, who is currently training in New Zealand, talks to CI News reporter Teherenui Koteka about his preparation for the New Zealand Canoe and Kayak sprint nationals, his inspirations and his future goals.

Why and how did you get started in K1?

I started out because a few of my Oe Vaka friends attended the first training session and I just followed for the fun of it and later began to develop an interest.

What are you training for at the moment?

I’m currently training for the New Zealand Canoe and Kayak Sprint Nationals next month.

How many times have you competed in this competition?

This will be my fifth year.

What do you do to prepare for a big competition like this? How is training going so far?

It wasn’t till last year that I decided to commit to the sport and so before each competition our training schedules would mainly consist of paddling in the lagoon or the ocean, strength/fitness sessions and weekly runs. I am training with the North Shore club in New Zealand and the training sessions are great, so hopefully I will see some good results in the upcoming event.

What are your hopes for this competition?

This next competition will allow me to see how hard I’ve trained, so I’m hoping to come away with some good PBs. I just don’t want to disappoint the people who work so hard to get me to where I want to be.

What do you enjoy the most and the least when preparing for a big competition?

I enjoy the thrill of competing. It doesn’t always go the way I want, but that just drives me to do better. I dislike being frustrated about an issue prior to training because I feel agitated and tend not to focus on my sets.

When you’re not training what are you doing?

When I am not training, I am either exploring the island with friends or looking for food to eat.

How does it feel when you’re lining up for a race?

Being on the start line is nerve-wracking because you are lined up with some of the country’s best athletes, if not world-class athletes and so it’s intimidating. Everything happens so quickly from that point on.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

My pre-race rituals consist of a good land warm up with some stretches all with music in my ears. Somehow, my nerves become a little calmer with music.

When you’re preparing for a big race what does your typical day look like?

Rest and food is all I have to say about preparation for a big race. Two aspects that I think are important before racing as well as doing light exercise or some stretches.

When you’re not preparing for big race what does your typical day look like?

Training is what usually keeps my days structured and when I’m not preparing for a race I either like to go for random paddles, swims or mountain hiking - if I’m not working that is.

Who inspires you? Who pushes you to do your best?

Most of my inspiration comes from people I see who are working hard and so when I ask them how they manage to be so good at what they do, the process of their hard work is what makes me want to be similar.

What are your goals for the future?

My future goals for the sport is to better my skills and to one day represent the Cook Islands at the Sprint Kayaking Worlds.

- Teherenui Koteka