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Going for gold

Wednesday 13 April 2011 | Published in Regional


All-round Cook Islands athlete Matthew Mokoroa has his heart set on going for gold again at the World Transplant Games.

The Grey Lynn resident picked up a gold medal for shot put at the 2009 games on the Gold Coast, along with silvers for long jump, table tennis and 10 pin bowling.

But Matthew, who underwent a liver transplant in 2005 at just nine years old after developing Wilson’s Disease, faces a difficult task to get to this year’s games which are in Gothenburg, Sweden.

His family has to raise $5000 for the airfare and accommodation costs for the competition in June, with another $5000 needed if his mum Annie Heather attends as well.

The family has been holding sausage sizzles and other events to fundraise, while relatives in Rarotonga are selling food platters to get more money together.

So far about $2000 has been raised. Heather says the most important thing is to get her son on the plane and worry about paying for herself later.

“That’s what I like about all the sport he does - it’s helping his health. He likes to compete and the challenge of it.”

Matthew will also compete in the 100-metre sprint, squash and swimming events if he makes it to Gothenburg.

Interacting with teenagers from other cultures such as the United States, India and Israel is another benefit of travelling to the games.

“You see different lifestyles and meet different people.

“It’s good to try out different things,” Matthew says.

He joins 15 other Kiwi athletes at the games, with a support crew that includes two physiotherapists.

When the 14-year-old isn’t training at Western Springs Park or Pt Erin Pool, he’s playing rugby league for Mt Albert where he hopes to compete professionally one day.

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