Being the best role model for the next generation of Cook Islanders is Conrad Piri’s main goal.
Conrad Piri says he was “surprised and grateful” to receive
his second Sportsman of the Year award.
Piri came over to the Cook Islands in March last year from
Australia’s Gold Coast for his son’s 21st birthday. It was meant to be a short
trip but Covid-19 meant he only returned to Australia in February this year.
The extension of his stay meant Piri could compete in the
Cook Islands Games, where he earned a string of medals, and the Sportsman of
the Year title awarded earlier this month. He competed in multiple disciplines,
including; volleyball, netball, touch, handball and league.
At the Cook Islands Sports Awards on April 11, Piri was also
recognised for being a great coach and mentor.
Piri’s personal sports goals reflect this. In a small bio
Piri wrote prior to the award ceremony – he was back in Australia when the
ceremony took place – he said his goal was to “be the best role model for my
family and the next generation of Cook Islanders, to share and develop skills
physically and mentally”.
Piri said he wants to develop game IQ in the people he
“Just from my point of view, just when I watch rugby or
league or even netball and stuff, I think we could develop our kids better.
“When I watch the game now there’s not much technical things
being taught,” Piri said.
He sees a lot of “muscle footy” being played and thinks
players can learn to play smarter through touch rugby.
Piri is living on the Gold Coast at the moment and works in
the construction industry. He is there with his 22-year-old son and his
daughter, who is taking a break before starting university.
He said he will be there until he achieves his savings goals
with his partner, which will likely keep him in Australia for another two
“It’s been tough because you don’t get to see your little
ones growing up.
“Thank God for the vehicles of Messenger or Facetime … it’s
good to see them but yeah, it’s just not the same, it’s not the same as giving
them a hug goodnight or seeing them off to school.”
Piri first left for Australia soon after his youngest
daughter was born, she is now seven years old.
This year’s sports award was Piri’s second time to win the
Sportsman of the Year title; his first time was 13 years ago when he was 27.
Piri won the awards in 2007 in a similar fashion to this
year. He competed in multiple disciplines in the Cook Islands, including
winning gold in rugby 7s, touch rugby, athletics for sprinting, and for