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‘Mr Cook Islands’ shares his secret

Saturday 28 August 2010 | Published in Regional

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Ina Tipokoroa doesn’t look a day over 30 and the 49-year-old credits his youthfulness to the sport of bodybuilding.

Tipokoroa was among the first group of locals that took up the sport in the early 80s after it was introduced by Tony Hole.

He hopes that today’s 4th International Asia Pacific Body Building and Fitness Championships at the national auditorium will inspire Cook Islanders to take up the sport.

But Tipokoroa was an early bloomer as he followed his uncle Nga Mangaiti to lift weights in 1978.

He said he was inspired by Mangaiti and although they didn’t have proper gym gear – they made do with what they had to train. In fact, Mangaiti was crowned ‘Mr Cook Islands’ in the first bodybuilding show on the island in 1981.

Tipokoroa himself succeeded in the sport in 1984 when he took out the light heavyweight class.

His idols of the sport were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sergio Oliva.

Tipokoroa believes that Cook Islanders today have more opportunity to do well in the sport what with two commercial gyms on the island, community gyms, modern gear and training equipment plus health supplements to boost muscle growth.

Tipokoroa says that bodybuilding is a lifestyle choice and although it is a lonely sport that calls for total commitment, focus and determination – the benefits of a health body and mind, increased self esteem, confidence and libido are just some of the rewards.

When Tipokoroa moved to New Zealand in 1987, he went straight to road works where the physical labour helped him stay in shape although he did maintain a good diet.

Tipokoroa encourages Cook Islanders, male and female, of all ages to give the sport a go and reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.

Today’s bodybuilding event begins with prejudging from 9am to 12 o’clock followed by the show at 6pm – both at the national auditorium.