The under 16 basketball players at the Papaaroa Hall for their Sunday training. 21112404
The people behind Rarotonga Community Development Basketball are ramping up efforts to achieve their goal of bringing more of the community together through the game. By Alana Musselle.
programme which first started in 2017 allowed for people of any age, but
targeted at youth, to participate in weekly basketball training in a bid to
promote the sport in the country.
a consistent stream of mainly 16-17-year-olds attending the weekly training
every Sunday from 5:30 -7pm, the organisation is now focusing their training for
the 2022 Beach Games hosted by Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee
in January next year.
prepare for this they have changed their game structure to three a-side to suit
the format that will be played at the Beach Games.
to John Engu, president of Rarotonga Community Development Basketball, their
mission is to bring young people and members of the community together and to
create connections with those who play while at the same time allowing them to
be more active.
young people, as well as parents, are usually attracted to more mainstream
sports such as rugby and netball, says Engu, adding with basketball being a
less developed sport on the island, they are still determined to follow through
with their strategic plan which is “to help and connect with young people
had a thriving first half of the year with the seven-week Avaiki Development
Basketball Tournament which took place earlier this year from August to
the community basketball programme, they are hoping to continue that momentum
for the rest of the year while at the same time preparing the players for the
upcoming Beach Games.
number of players in the community programme currently varies from week to week
with an average of 15 young people showing up for training each week.
that sentence alone ‘we have basketball training today’ is a start in getting
our young people involved and active within the sport,” Engu said.
there are a few disciplinary issues as well as pride on the court with “selfish
players”, but Engu said that despite the disciplinary measures taken to ease
out those bumps, “players are continuing to return to practices and put in
their all which is a good sign”.
said the main reason that they continue to hold the community programme “is
that they hope to bring both young kids and their families forward and to
create connections with many families in the community through the love of
are here and we just do what we can with what we’ve got. We’re doing our best
and are very passionate about basketball with our young people.”