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Sports

Stage set for Cook Islands’ biggest school athletics event

Tuesday 13 September 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Athletics, Sports

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Stage set for Cook Islands’ biggest school athletics event
Apii Arorangi athletes compete in the school’s meet last Friday. 22090810

The largest school athletics event of the year begins today with 11 schools, over 600 competitors and 100 volunteers.

CITC Prince of Wales starts today a 3pm with the 800 and 1500-metre running events at the National Stadium in Nikao. Some discus and high jump events will also start this afternoon.

The main day is tomorrow which will start at 7.15am with breakfast from CITC. At 8.30am each school will march around the stadium as part of the parade ceremony and at 9am the competition will start.

President of Athletics Cook Islands, Simone Fe’ao said the preparation for the event was going well and the weather looked like it was going to cooperate.

“We're looking forward to a good couple of days,” Fe’ao said.

“We encouraged schools to enter as many athletes as they can because this is where kids get to try things, find out what they're good at and take it further.”

Fe’ao said the competition was where former Cook Islands sprinter, Patricia Taea got her start. Taea represented the Cook Islands in the Olympics and Commonwealth games.  

Although children get their start in athletics through the event, Fe’ao said it was competitive - particularly from sideline supporters.

She said the athletic children would be “vying” for the event’s top titles.

There are 16 individual awards up for grabs, eight in each division.

Some families on the island have also done traditionally well in certain events, Fe’ao said.

Fe’ao expected the next two days to bring in some good results. 

“If youth champs are anything to go by they’re all doing bigger and better, and kids seem to tag along with their parents for Cook Islands Games training.

“We’ve had heaps more kids come through the weekly athletics training that we have.”

Apii Avarua normally takes the overall championship.

“I think part of that is they’re one of the bigger schools so they have the ability to draw on more athletes than the others.

“It's always up for a challenge from the other schools to knock them off but I would say they have always been star performers in terms of overall points.”

Fe’ao said the event was also about promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s not just about what happens on the field but it’s building the habits, like we only allow healthy food stalls on the day.

“It’s about looking at the whole picture and building those healthy habits as young kids.”