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Off to bowl at junior worlds

Thursday 7 April 2011 | Published in Regional

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A year after being introduced to the game of lawn bowls through the Tereora College physical education programme, 18-year-old Kathleen Mataio is off to the Junior World Cup in Australia to represent the Cook Islands.

Mataio explains that during the college’s lawn bowls programme, physical education teacher Alan Syme encouraged the youngster to take up the sport.

“Mr Syme said I should take up bowling – and I did,” says Mataio.

“It’s a fun game and I like the challenge.”

After joining the Rarotonga Bowling Club, Mataio has been honing her skills under the watchful eyes of coach Vana Ohmsen and fellow triples team member Kanny Vaile.

Ohmsen and Vaile are both world class bowlers who’ve won numerous gold medals for the country in the sport.

Ohmsen says that after the 2010 Tereora College lawn bowls programme, 3 boys and 3 girls were selected to train and prepare for the world up.

However, Mataio was the only student who committed herself to the sport and luckily for Ohmsen – Mataio also turned out to be a talented bowler.

“I feel awesome,” says Mataio of her first ever international bowling event.

“I just can’t wait to get there and play my best.”

Mataio will be joined at the Junior World Bowls tournament from April 12 to 20 by junior men’s 24-year-old bowler Anthony Ngatuakana.

Ohmsen says that this is the first time the Cook Islands has ever been represented in lawn bowls by a junior male and female player.

Ohmsen will accompany the pair to Australia this weekend as coach and manager.