Sprinter Patricia Taea shocked the regional athletics fraternity after claiming gold in the 200 metres dash, while the national women’s team won the final gold medal in the 3 on 3 basketball competition.
Team Cook Islands won four gold, four silver and four bronze medals to finish on seventh spot among the 19 countries competing at the games.
Taea, who earlier won a silver medal in the blue ribbon event, beat favourites Toea Wisil of Papua New Guinea to win the 200m title.
She clocked a national record time of 24.16 seconds to finish almost a second clear of Wisil, the reigning Pacific champion.
“I am out of words to describe how happy I am,” the Australia-based sprinter told Inside the Games after the win.
“It is a surprise for me to beat Papua New Guinea. But I am happy for Ms Wisil who has run her best – she is a strong runner.”
The national women’s 3 on 3 basketball team maintained their good run to finish on a high in the final.
The Adoniah Lewis-led side defeated Papua New Guinea in the final to claim the gold medal while Vanuatu settled for bronze.
“We are just so excited. Words can’t even describe how we’re feeling right now,” Lewis said after the win.
“A big meitaki maata to everyone back home for their support. It’s been a long journey and I’m just glad that we are able to show and achieve (the gold medal) as a nation.”
Team Cook Islands chef de mission Robert Graham hailed the athletes for their performances at the games, which ended yesterday.
Twenty-two athletes from five sports: weightlifting, beach volleyball, golf, basketball and athletics, represented the country at the event, held once every four years.
Graham said the 12 medal haul was a “great achievement” for the team.