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Sports

Laced up and ready to compete!

Thursday 8 September 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National

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Laced up and ready to compete!
Mauke athlete Kura Tamaka with her shoes on ready to play! SUPPLIED/22090720

Young Mauke athletes bound for the Cook Islands Games in Rarotonga now have their own footwear thanks to a shoe drive.

The initiative, launched by the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC), began last month.

The CISNOC shoe drive has partnered with Mauke-based couple Luana and Chris Abraham who run youth sports competitions to provide young Mauke athletes with sport shoes.

Luana and Chris run local netball, rugby and soccer competitions, which have resulted in a Development Team being selected to come across to Rarotonga to compete in the Cook Islands Games to be held from September 30 to October 15.

However, it was noted that many of the young athletes do not have shoes and play barefoot. 

“We have had to seek donations and sponsorship from Rarotonga and New Zealand to build up our sports equipment to be able to provide sufficient training programmes, even down to basics such as balls,” Luana said. 

“Living in the Pa Enua, we do not have the luxury of popping down to a store to purchase shoes or appropriate sports clothing and rely heavily on our families in Rarotonga (if we have any) or overseas to help provide us with these.”

Luana said many Mauke young people did not have sports shoes at all and train in barefoot. 

“Last week, Mauke began work on our roads and therefore this has added another challenge for our tamariki and youth to be able to run on our roads.  We are also constantly fundraising as we are sure many Pa Enua are, to assist mainly with airfares,” she said.

Luana said she had deep gratitude for those who had donated shoes and other sports supplies.

“Relief and gratitude that they no longer have to run barefoot along our raw roads, and can fully engage in trainings, especially where sports are concerned that require some type of boots with sprigs,” she said.

Luana said it was taking across a team of 31 to Rarotonga for the Cook Islands Games. 

“Eight of those are our support crew (adult supervision, cooks, cleaners, drivers, coaches and trainers). Age range is from 12 years old to 28 years being the core of the group. Our support crew range from 30 years to 60 years, who are also participating in masters’ events and traditional games,” she said.

“We are truly appreciative and humble for the support. It is initiatives like these that our youth and tamariki can have opportunities to participate in some type of physical activity more comfortably while developing their confidence which therefore enables them to perform the best that they can.”

CISNOC sport development officer Lauren Turner said the shoe drive was able to provide many athletes with shoes to enable them to get stuck into their sports and training sessions. 

“However, there are still a number of shoe requirements yet to be fulfilled that the Shoe Drive has not been able to meet. So, we’re asking for further donations – runners, rugby and soccer players, we need your help! If you have an old pair of any of the shoes listed in the image below, then we’d love to be able to pass them on to Luana, Chris, and the kids in Mauke.”

Shoes can be dropped off at the CISNOC Office, backroad Nikao behind the Ministry of Education headquarters. 

“Additionally, if you or anyone you know needs a pair of sports shoes please contact the CISNOC office on 24095 or email lturner@cisnoc.org.ck.”