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Work commitment sees athlete out

Thursday 23 September 2010 | Published in Regional

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Team Cook Islands to the Delhi Commonwealth Games has lost one member and are awaiting the confirmation of visas for another two.

Aitutaki track athlete Tiraa Arere has pulled out of the games choosing his job over travelling to India to represent the country.

His decision to choose work in order to feed his family was fully understood by Team Cook Islands management, however, the late announcement was a sore point with both chef de mission George George and team manager George Hosking.

It is understood that Arere is one of the labourers on Aitutaki working on the reconstruction of homes on the island that suffered huge damage after cyclone Pat in January.

It is also understood that the young athlete was told that if he chose to go to India – he wouldn’t have a job on his return.

This leaves 17-year-old Patricia Taea as the solo track athlete in Team Cook Islands.

Boxers Mathew Titoa and Arama Jubilee are facing eligibility issues three days out from Team Cook Islands departure to India.

Boxing manager Navy Epati explained that Titoa, of Samoan decent, and Jubilee who is of Tahitian decent, need to prove that they live in the Cook Islands in order to receive a visa into Delhi.

The athlete eligibility criteria states that all athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games must be citizens of the Commonwealth country they are representing.

But Epati is confident that he will be able to iron out the issue and get his boys their visa to represent the country in Delhi.

Remaining codes – lawn bowls, netball, tennis and weightlifting are all accredited and ready to compete in Delhi.