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Olympics team may be biggest yet

Wednesday 28 March 2012 | Published in Regional


The Cook Islands is aiming to make its London Olympics team the largest it has ever sent to an Olympics.

Three athletes have already qualified to represent the Cook Islands in London with another six showing the potential to do so.

Athlete Patricia Taea will compete in the 100 metre sprints, while Ella Nicholas will represent the Cooks in canoeing and Celeste Brown in the swimming pool.

Among the six athletes who are yet to qualify are sailors Helema Williams, Peter Taua Elisa Henry and Junior Charlie, weightlifter Sam Pera Junior, swimmer Tepaia Payne and canoeist Joshua Utanga.

Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) secretary general Rosie Blake said that Williams and Pera were showing a huge amount of promise in the qualifiers in the lead up to the July 27 opening ceremony.

If just those two athletes qualify for the Olympics, it will be the biggest group of athletes to represent the Cook Islands since the country first participated in the competition in 1988, six Olympics ago.

The biggest team to represent the Cook Islands so far came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where four athletes made the journey to China for the competition.

The upcoming London Olympics also has the potential to include the biggest Cook Islands delegation ever sent to an Olympics by extension of the athletes’ numbers.

Each code in the team is entitled to send two officials with their athletes to the Olympics, typically including a coach and a team manager.

Some of the codes, however, are not planning to send two officials to London, opting instead to use one of their places.

In addition to that, Team Cook Islands is also bound by Olympic charters to send Chef de Mission George George, CISNOC president Sir Geoffrey Henry and secretary general Blake.

CISNOC’s Siniva Marsters will also travel to London to help with the administration and organisation of the London Olympics – a venture that is also required by Olympic charters.

In total, the team is expected to number at least 18 people this year.

The exact figure won’t be known until closer to the Olympics’ opening on July 27 and all qualification events are finally held.