Track and Field Club Rarotonga yesterday hosted a group of potential future athletics stars in an open day at the National Stadium in Nikao.
The event attracted about 20 children between the ages of nine and 13 years who underwent basics drills including long jumps and throws.
It was coordinated by Ruth Tangiiau Mave, the secretary of Athletics Cook Islands.
Mave said the event allowed newcomers an opportunity to experience athletics and give it a go.
She said this would be followed by a Kid’s Athletic sessions for five to eight years at the schools and villages in the coming days.
The 9-13 years programme will continue every Monday from 3pm to 4pm.
“A programme of Run, Jump and Throw events will be delivered with the goal to build skills and increase confidence in sporting activities. Athletics is a sport that offers all the ground building skills required in other sports in a safe and individualised manner,” Mave said.
“There is something for everyone in athletics but with this age group, we primarily focus on children doing all the events and having fun. Specialising too early in athletics can actually hold development back in a child’s overall development.”
In athletics, Mave said specialisation does not become a factor until athletes are 16 to 17 years old when they are required to choose between track or field, sprints or middle to long distance events.
“Coaches will be looking for children showing advanced promise and will offer other training times to them if they are keen to do more.”
Athletics Cook Islands hope this programme will unearth future stars such as Sina-Maria Su’a, an eight-year-old New Zealand thrower who last week broke the world record after a throw of 10.37 metres.
Her throw toppled a 20-year-old shot put world record for her age.
Mave said: “If we see anyone with promise like this we will be sure to encourage them further.
“The main focus for this age group is fun and learning. This is a good time for those looking at the Prince of Wales competition later in the year as a build up to improve technique, understand rules and try all the different sports.”
Track and Field Club Rarotonga would like to encourage parents coming along to get involved and help with some of the marshalling or measuring required on the day, Mave said.
“Track and Field Club Rarotonga would like to create a good family club time with the goal to have regular mini competitions in the future.”
The club will this Friday host Masters athletes (35 years over) from 5pm at the stadium.
For those between ages 13 and 18 years wanting to try out athletics can contact Ruth Mave at