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Tuesday 13 March 2012 | Published in Regional


Attending the Oceania Canoeing Championships recently in Australia has inspired Cook Islands athletes to keep training in the K1 canoeing class and share the sport among their peers.

Top Aitutaki female paddler Tuangaru Rima and Andre Tutaka-George of Rarotonga returned home from the championships with valuable experiences which will help them build up their skills in the paddling category.

At the Australian meet the pair was joined by Cook Islands slalom canoeist Ella Nicholas and Australian based K1 paddler Josh Utanga.

Paddling in the open men’s division – Tutaka-George also had the chance to line up against some of the world’s top K1 paddlers including top Kiwi K1 paddler Ben Fouhy.

In the men’s open K1 100m heat – Tutaka George registered a time of 4.32.66 while winner of the race Fouhy clocked a time of 3.37.24.

Tutaka-George raced in the under 18 men’s K1 200m event and open men’s K1 1000m race while Rima teamed up with Ella Nicholas in the open women’s K2 event. For the local women – crossing the finish line was the aim in the new category.

The pair clocked a time of 1.05.35 in women’s K2 200m race which was won in 42.45 by an Australian pairing.

In the K2 500m sprint – Rima and Nicholas posted a time of 2.48.08 while the winning team clocked 1.47.43.

Meanwhile Rima is back on Aitutaki. A K1 canoe will be shipped over to help with the development of the sport on the island through peer coaching by Rima.

A bigger team of athletes is expected to represent the Cook Islands at the same event next year to be hosted by New Zealand.

The experiences of the local duo that took part in the recent event will go a long way in helping develop the sport in the islands.