Cook Islands Canoeing Association events manager Chrissy Thomas said the traditional sport of Oe Vaka has always been a growing passion for the youths in the Cook Islands and the growing interest from the people was something the association was always passionate about.
“The two-day event came to a successful ending after over 300 students from nine different schools competed this year.
“There has really been a good turnout from all different schools especially students from Enuamanu, Mauke and Mangaia who joined in the competition whilst they were here on Rarotonga for work experiences,” said Thomas.
“The second day of the competition was a lot faster, Thursday’s event was fantastic, the weather for the event was beautiful and we were so happy about it.
We are hoping that after today’s competition we will have students joining our local clubs and continue their love for canoeing,” she said.
Though Araura College may not have been able to defend their title this year, the competition itself meant something different for the team. Two of the boys from the Araura team will be part of the Cook Islands under-16 team in the upcoming Va’a World Sprint championship to be held at Sunshine Coast in Australia early next month.
Manager Support Team Cook Islands and Araura College manager Terangi Temati said the team did “great” at the regatta and now the focus was on the upcoming world event.
“It felt so great being a part of this year’s regatta, for us this really meant a lot. We would like to thank our sponsor Air Rarotonga who sponsored all our paddlers to come, they had made it possible for us to be part of this journey.
“The under-16 boys in our team have been working closely together for a few years now and they are doing really well, they won the Vaka Eiva last year and now they will be representing the country in the championship tournament come May.
“Altogether we have 14 boys who will be in the under-16 team, two of which will take part in the V6 sprint race and later they will then combine with the rest of the boys in the V12 sprint race, it’s going to be a tough tussle for the team, but all our well wishes are with them.
“There are 45 paddlers altogether travelling to Australia to take part in the ten-day Va’a World Sprint championship competition that begins on May 5th and the team will leave for Australia next Tuesday.”
CICA association thanked all its sponsors for making such a wonderful event a success and hope for its continued support in the future.