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Tuesday 23 August 2011 | Published in Regional


The bulk of Team Cook Islands will make their way to New Caledonia for the Pacific Games via Auckland this evening with huge pressure from the public to do well.

Team chef de mission George George acknowledges that the lack of cash issues recently have meant more pressure on the team by the public to do well but he says its pressure the athletes understand well.

He believes the pressure will make athletes dig their heels in to exceed expectations and prove the critics wrong.

We need to prove to our people that going to New Caledonia is not a waste of time and money, says George.

There is a lot of pressure and criticism on this team but those that have been selected know what to do when they get to New Caledonia.

George believes that the group of 130 athletes have already weathered the recent uncertainties and will rise to the challenge once in Noumea.

George is confident Team Cook Islands will return home with hard earned medals for the sporting community and wider nation to be proud of.

But just how many medals the team will bring home is anyones guess.

The message by pastor Bobby Matapo on Sunday really hit me in the heart, commented George.

If an athlete at that church service didnt feel moved by the pastors words then they need to return their ticket because the pastor said it all.

Team Cook Islands athletes will depart this evening at 8pm with a special farewell function for the team to be held at the airport at 6pm.