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Cook Islands athlete strikes gold in Finland

Saturday 29 April 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Athletics, Sports

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Cook Islands  athlete strikes  gold in Finland
Cook Islands athlete John Wuatai-Tariau wins double gold in the Men’s White Belt category. Photo: Provided/23042836

Cook Islands athlete John Wuatai-Tariau, has emerged the standout fighter at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Finnish Open held last Sunday at the Tikkurila Sports Hall in Finland. By Kendall Vano of Tagata Pasifika.

Representing the Hipko team, Wuatai-Tariau impressed everyone with his performance, winning double gold in the Men’s White Belt category for both +100.5kg and the Open Weight Class.

Speaking about his experience, Wuatai-Tariau said: “Over the weekend, I had an amazing experience and managed to bag two gold medals. It was my first competition, so I’m pretty stoked with the result!”

Wuatai-Tariau paid tribute to his coaches at Hipkosalit and Hipko Performance Training, as well as his fellow students and teachers, who supported him throughout his journey.

His success serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and highlights the importance of dedication and hard work.

Wuatai-Tariau’s height and size initially made him stand out from the other competitors, and his choice of takedowns during the matches also drew the attention of spectators and fellow fighters. He has been training in Brazilian JiuJitsu since February 2022.

His enjoyment of the journey and his dedication to the sport enabled him to achieve this remarkable feat.

“The key being: Enjoy the journey and the result will come,” Wuatai-Tariau said.

Apart from his success in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wuatai-Tariau is also a player coach with the Warriors Rugby Club Helsinki, winning three national titles since moving to Finland in 2015. He has also earned two caps with the national rugby team, which has seen significant progress in the world rankings in recent years.

Wuatai-Tariau has a simple message when asked what is the secret to success. “You already know the go, God and family first, the rest will follow.”

Wuatai-Tariau has also received positive and supportive feedback, including his opponents, who have complimented his execution of specific parts of his game plan.

His ultimate aim is to keep improving and competing at higher levels, all while ensuring that his family life is not impacted.

“I am looking forward to competing at higher levels in which there are plenty more to throw.”