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Tiraa dashes off to Qatar

Thursday 11 March 2010 | Published in Regional

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Twenty-five-year-old Aitutaki sprinter Tiraa Arere is on his way to Doha, the capital city of the state of Qatar in the Persian Gulf, for the World Indoor Athletics Championships.

And while people have been joking with him to hunt down terrorist Osama Bin-Laden – Tiraa would rather return home with a medal.

Tiraa’s journey from Aitutaki to Doha was going to take 24 hours.

Tiraa is the only Cook Islander in the Oceania squad of around 20 athletes heading for the indoor athletics championships.

The Oceania team will travel with the Australian team to the event.

Tiraa will compete in the 60m dash and has been in training for this particular event for the past three months although he has been competing in athletics meets since he was a small boy.

In fact, Tiraa has dominated the tracks in both the Manea and Purapura zones with his personal best 100m sprint time a blistering 11.27 seconds.

Tiraa was selected to represent the Cook Islands based on his consistent top performance and maturity.

Tiraa is also a seasoned traveller having represented the Cook Islands in Australia and at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

Tiraa has spent the past three weeks helping with the clean-up on Aitutaki after cyclone Pat and has incorporated this with his training.

“E koi tita taku training (picking up rubbish has been my training),” joked Tiraa.

He is due to compete on March 12.