Team Aitutaki’s young guns: Quinton Schofield (left) Terii Haurua, Esther David, Tumaiata Tutai, Simon Law and Taivero Henry. 22092903
Cook Islands athletes from overseas have started arriving to participate in the 2022 Cook Islands Games which started yesterday with the official ceremony.
Towering over everyone at 6’7 feet, 17-year-old Simon
(Junior) Law flew in from Australia to represent Team Aitutaki in the Cook
Islands Games 3x3 basketball competition next week.
“I feel good to represent my culture and Aitutaki in a
sport that I like,” said Law.
Born in Rarotonga to parents Camilla and Simon Law,
Law Jr was brought up on the island of Aitutaki. His mother is from the village
of Ureia and his dad Simon is from the Potini family in Vaipae. Law Jr’s
maternal grandmother is Kairangi Paora.
At the age of eight, Law Jr, the eldest child with
three younger sisters, moved with his family to Australia.
He started playing basketball in Grade 5 at school in
Ipswich, Brisbane. He currently plays for the Ipswich Basketball Club which he
has been a part of since the age of 12, and his goal is to get into the Big
League Basketball competition.
“I love the competitiveness, the intensity, the speed
and decision making of the game,” said Law Jr, who would like to encourage
other youth to take up sport.
“If you put your mind into it you actually reach your
goals, that’s what I did. At first I never liked basketball, but my Dad kept
telling me to keep trying and put my mind into it, and I started getting better
and better and that’s when I started enjoying the games.”
Standing as tall as he does Law Jr says he has
difficulty buying clothes and size 14 shoes. He drove from Brisbane to Sydney
once to pick up a pair of shoes.
Enjoying being back on the island, he says: “I’m very
much looking forward to the Cook Islands Games.”
Aitutaki manager Strickland Upu said: “Another reason
for bringing Law over was to expose him to junior players and help encourage
young people to take up basketball.”
Upu disclosed they had underestimated Law’s shirt size
and ordered an XL which turned out too small for the athlete.
“We thought we could judge his size from watching his
videos, it never occurred to us that he would be a 3XL so now we are trying to
Law Jr would like to acknowledge his sponsor Maremokura
Tuakura from MJAY & VJAY Propriety Ltd (Donut King) from Melbourne, for
paying for his return airfares from Brisbane.
Team Aitutaki’s young guns from the homeland – Quinton
Schofield, Terii Haurua, Esther David, Tumaiata Tutai and Taivero Henry – are
all looking forward to participating in athletics and rugby 7s.
The Araura College students arrived this week and are
“a little nervous” and excited to participate.
Sharne Pupuke-Robati, who is currently playing
basketball in Japan, arrived last night to compete for her home island of
Rakahanga. Standing at nearly two metres (180cm/5’11), she will be
participating at the National Stadium this morning in the shot put and discus
events in the open women’s division and will also compete in 3x3 basketball