Paniani, Fisher-Marsters win top awards

Tuesday April 30, 2019 Written by Published in Sports
Aidan Zittersteijn (left) and Taiki Paniani, the winner of the Sportsman of the Year award, with their Commonwealth Games bronze medals. 19042931 Aidan Zittersteijn (left) and Taiki Paniani, the winner of the Sportsman of the Year award, with their Commonwealth Games bronze medals. 19042931

Bowler Taiki Paniani and swimmer Kirstein Fisher-Marsters won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, at the Cook Islands Sports Awards 2018 on Sunday night.

 The two had to overcome stiff competition in their category to claim the main gongs at the event which was held at the Edgewater Resort and Spa.

Paniani was recognised for his effort in winning the bronze medal in lawn pairs that made Cook Islands history at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia Gold Coast.

He also has won the gold medal in the National Men’s Single Championship, also held last year.

Fisher-Marsters had an amazing 2018 as well in which she represented the Cook Islands at the Commonwealth Games and achieved her personal best times and set new national records.

She attended World Cups - which were three back-to-back competitions in three countries – China, Japan and Singapore.

In the Oceania event in Papua New Guinea, Fisher-Marsters walked away with two gold and a silver medal.

Both Paniani and Fisher-Marsters were unable to attend the event.

The Sports Team of the Year award went to the lawns bowl team at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Paniani and Aidan Zittersteijn were the first to win a bronze medal for the Cook Islands at a Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018.

In doing so, these two boys made history for the Cook Islands and will continue to develop and train for the next Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The International Olympic Committee Sports Personality Award went to Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) president Hugh Graham.

Graham, who has been hailed as the quiet achiever of sports administration in the Cook Islands, is also the Commonwealth Games regional vice president for Oceania.

In 2018, he was formally elected as the Oceania Zone President of the FIVB (World Volleyball Federation), making him one of the country’s highest ranking sports administrators.

The Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards went to Bede Aitu and Jade Tierney, respectively.

National swimmer Aitu was the sole Cook Islands representative at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. He was marginally outside his personal best in the 100 metres breaststroke, however he eclipsed his 50m breaststroke personal best just under a second.

Tierney is a talented kayaker who is focused and committed to her goal of representing the nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

She was the 2018 New Zealand Canoe Sprint Nationals bronze medalist (individual and team) and finalist in the under-16 women’s kayak division in at the 2018 Asia Pacific Cup Canoe Sprint Junior event.

Tierney also won gold in the Regional 200m Event Savona in Italy) and silver and bronze medals at the 2018 Blue Lakes 2 New Zealand Regional event.

The Sports Coach of the Year went to Tupapa Panthers league and union mentor Darren Piri.

Under his guidance the Tupapa premier’s rugby union team won the Round Cup and grand final last year.

His Tupapa Panthers Sevens and Matie Bar Sevens team won the Cup final and Plate Finals, respectively, at the Raro Sevens 2018.

The Panthers league team, which he also coaches, won the round cup and grand final last year.

Piri also guided the Cook Islands rugby league team in the Tri Series win last year.

Cook Islands Football competitions manager Pauline Dean won the Sports Administrator of the Year while the Sports Technical Official of the Year went to John Pareanga of CIFA.

Meanwhile the prestigious Service to Sports awards was presented to Brian Baudinet of Tennis Cook Islands.

 Winners

Pa Enua Sports Association of the Year – Mangaia Sports Association

Pa Enua Sports Achievement Award – Enuamanu School Sevens Team

Women in Sports Trophy – Basketball Women 5 on 5, Sports Achievement of the Year Award – Lawn Bowls

Sports Technical Official of the Year – John Pareanga – CI Football

Sports Administrator of the Year – Pauline Dean – CI Football

Sports Coach of the Year – Darren Piri - Tupapa Maraerenga

Fair Play Award – Basketball Men’s 5 on 5

Junior Sportswoman of the Year – Jade Tierney

Junior Sportsman of the Year – Bede Aitu

International Olympic Committee Sports Personality Award – Hugh Graham

Sports Team of the Year – Lawn Bowls, Sportswoman of the Year – Kirstein Fisher-Marsters

Sportsman of the Year – Taiki Paniani, Services to Sport – Brian Baudinet.

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