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Shark on the green!

Thursday 30 September 2010 | Published in Regional


In person, Irene Tupuna is a quiet woman of few words – but on the bowling green she is a shark.

Tupuna, who is of Mauke decent, is representing the Cook Islands in the women’s singles division in the second week of competition at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The pressure of international competition is nothing new to Tupuna.

She has impressive international bowling achievements to her name but this is her debut at the Commonwealth Games.

Tupuna began playing bowls in 1998 after a chance call from a friend to make up a mixed triples team and she’s never looked back.

A year later she got her first taste of international bowls – representing the country at the Asia Pacific Championships in Malaysia.

She played the lead in the fours and triples but no medals were won.

In 2000 she attended the World Bowls competition and was once again the lead in the women’s fours and triples.

Again no medals.

Her first medal came the next year when she attended the Pacific Mini Games hosted by Norfolk Island.

She and pairs partner Rebecca Akaruru won bronze and the triples team at those games won the gold medal.

In 2004 she attended her second Asia Pacific Championships in Brisbane and played pairs with Kanny Vaile and placed fourth overall losing to Papua New Guinea.

In 2007 she finally won a medal at the Asia Pacific Championship – a bronze medal in the women’s triples as the lead with skip Kanny Vaile and second Porea Elisa.

She hit double gold later in 2007 at the Samoa South Pacific Games.

A gold as lead in the women’s triples and a second in the women’s fours division.

She attended the World Bowls in 2008 before the Pacific Mini Games in Rarotonga in 2009 when she again won two gold medals.

One in the pairs and a second in the triples.

Now she is taking on the best of the Commonwealth and she is keen to do her best.

A woman of few words, she says that she enjoys bowls because of the friendships she develops through the sport and of course the travelling opportunity it has brought her.