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Junior tennis team prepares for East Pacific Regional Championships in Samoa

Tuesday 4 April 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Sports, Tennis

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Junior tennis team prepares for East Pacific Regional Championships in Samoa
Pictured are some of the junior tennis players will be competing in the East Pacific Regional Championships (EPRC) in Apia, Samoa. MELINA ETCHES/23040317

Fourteen junior tennis players will be competing in the East Pacific Regional Championships (EPRC) in Apia, Samoa from April 17-22.

The tournament hosted by Tennis Samoa and coordinated by the Oceania Tennis Federation (OTF) will also have participants from the countries of Tahiti, Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Mentored by the Cook Islands national head coach, Malcolm Kajer, the juniors train six days a week after school ending with match play on Saturdays.

Team manager Kura Karika-Une said: “The juniors are excited to go and get out there and compete. Our newbies, first time in regional competition, are apprehensive but looking forward to the experience.”

“We hope to achieve spots for the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships (POJC) which will be held in Lautoka, Fiji in July.

“The children will need to place in the top four in the under-16 and U14 Boys and Girls and top two in U12 teams event boys or girls to progress to POJC,” said Karika-Une.

Although funding is available, it does not cover the full costs of the team’s expenses and the majority is to be made up by the children’s families. 

Last month a small committee teamed up with the Rarotonga Golf Club and organised an Ambrose to raise funds for the tennis kids.

A whopping $17,000-plus was raised from teams, food, raffles and auction. Fifty teams registered in the Ambrose.

“There was great support from the community with registering teams and sponsoring amazing prizes for this fundraiser,” said Karika-Une.

“Thank you for Rarotonga Golf Club for hosting us and to all our sponsors. Also to Prime Foods Hotplates – we held two hotplates to assist with our costs, a huge thank you to Prime Foods for your continued support of the juniors.”

The national juniors team will depart Rarotonga on April 13 and return on April 23.

Tennis Cook Islands and the families of all the exceptional young players who have been selected to represent the Cook Islands in Samoa would like to share their heartfelt and deepest gratitude for everyone’s generosity and kindness.

Cook Islands Juniors

U12 Girls - Tera-Itirere Ki Avaiki Rongo, Vaeihana Keukura Roi, Aviarna Williams, Taylor-Anne Marsters; U12 Boys - Luca Rossouw, Mareko Webb, Harold Browne; U14 girls - Raetea Rongo, Te-Kura-Ariki Tamangaro; U14 Boys - Xavier-Armani Roi, Charles-Trevor Woonton, Benson Herman, U16 Girls - Maiata Forsyth, U16 Boys - Luke Pierre. Coach Malcolm Kajer and Team Manager - Kura Karika-Une.