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Saturday 17 September 2011 | Published in Regional


The Cook Islands contingent to the Youth Commonwealth Games has left the Isle of Man without medals, but competed well against its Pacific sisters.

Swimmers Tepaia Payne and Celeste Brown and shot putter Jolyn Iro competed for the Cook Islands at the four-day event held in the small Irish sea state.

None of the three participants earned medals for their efforts the large majority going to giants England and Australia at the top of the medal tally but all three competed well against the other competitors from the Pacific.

Payne and Brown beat out swimmers from Papua New Guinea in the pool, only once placing lower than any other Pacific competitor in their races.

Eighteen-year-old Payne, who is currently living with family in Brunei, consistently placed about 20th in a field of 30. Results were similar for 17-year-old Sydney resident Brown.

Brown swam a time of 29 seconds in the 50 metre freestyle and 1 minute 6 seconds in the 100 metre freestyle.

In the 50 metre butterfly, Payne swam a time of 27.72 seconds, about four seconds off the pace in his heat.

In the 50 and 100 metre freestyle competitions, Payne swan at times of 25 and 56 seconds, while posting a time of 2 minutes and 9 seconds in the 200 metre freestyle.

On the athletics field, Cook Islands-based Iro threw 10.98 metres to finish fifth among six competitors. She was about four metres behind the gold medal winner.

Chef de mission George Hosking said the Commonwealth Youth Games would provide the three competitors with valuable experience at a games level, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than they would find in the Commonwealth or Olympic Games.

He said the team stayed at an athletes village and faced the challenges that come with travelling and competing in such events.

The trip was also used as a cultural exchange programme, of sorts, with all the competitors set to take part in health and culture lessons while at the Isle of Man.

About 72 countries competed in seven different sports, which were chosen by the Isle of Man.

The next Youth Commonwealth Games will be held in Samoa in four years time.

Hosking said he expected the Samoa Games to include more sports, and more with a Pacific edge to them.

The host nation decides on the sports, so Id expect Samoa to pick the same 27 sports that they had at the Pacific Games all the venues are still there, he said.

I think theyd definitely have rugby sevens and netball, boxing and golf all the sports they are good at.