Cook Islands international and CK Athletic co-founder Kiana Takairangi and Australian league stars at the Junior Rugby League Skills Clinic at Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia yesterday. Photo: LOSURENE LACANIVALU/23010425
More than 60 young children aged six to 12 gathered at the Nukupure Park in Ngatangiia eager to learn some rugby league tricks from Kiana Takairangi and a number of Australian league stars.
Takairangi, a Cook Islands international and CK Athletic co-founder, said since their awareness of the programme, 30 children had signed up and yesterday they saw more children attending the Junior Rugby League Skills Clinic.
She said it was good to see the locals attend the training, supporting
the programme and getting the children involved.
Takairangi says a lot needs to be done to help develop kids from a
younger age to get to the top.
“We have had teams in the top level, playing the World Cup but we don’t
have great development in the home island, so I think there needs to be a lot
more done to help develop kids from a younger age to get to that league level
quicker,” she said.
“It is something I am passionate about, I do it back home (Australia) and
I hope to do more here.
“This is just the start, we put the idea out and we are glad a lot of
people backed us up and came down and got involved. It is something we need to
keep working on to make sure we can develop our juniors to compete with the
rest of the world.”
Meanwhile Takairangi said the national women’s side did well at the 2022
World Cup but they were nowhere near where they needed to be in terms of
competing at that league level with the Australians and Kiwis.
“I am passionate about trying to get the right people in place to give
us the best opportunity in competing.
“We got a few years which is good to try and prepare, I think we need
more funding and resources to be able to prepare ourselves to compete properly
at the world cup and not end up with the 70 – nil score lines.
“Hopefully in the next couple of years, there can be more done to get us
where we need to be, to be able to compete properly,” she added.