Commonwealth Games beckons for Team Cook Islands’ lawn bowls team after Hartpury preparation

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An international lawn bowls team has been preparing for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games by training at Hartpury.

The Cook Islands’ men’s and women’s teams used the extensive sports facilities and stayed on site at Hartpury University and Hartpury College from 7-23 July. They joined the local Severn Bowls Club in Frampton for a practice match, also teaching locals about their culture and traditions.

Coach, Jason Lindsay, said their time in the county has been a big help.

"A lot of us may never get the chance to travel this far again", he added.

Manager of the Cook Islands' bowls team, Papatua Papatua, said "to win any medals will be a bonus for us. We just have to do our best for our country and our people back home.”

The team includes four members of the same family, with a mother and father and their two daughters set to play together. Philip Jim, 58, started playing bowls in 1996, with his wife Tai, 57, taking up the sport two years later.

Daughters Emily, 22, and Tiare, 20, have been playing since they were eight years old.

At the end of their stay, the team presented Tom Radcliffe, Director of Elite Sport at Hartpury, with a polo shirt and shell trophy and material showcasing their culture and traditions.

Tom said: “It’s been a real pleasure to host this hugely inspirational team at Hartpury. Everyone has been touched by their camaraderie, passion and dedication, and we’ll be watching them closely and cheering them on in Birmingham.

“I hope they remember their time at Hartpury fondly, just as we’ll think of their time with us. They embody the spirit of the Commonwealth Games, and we wish them well.”

The Cook Islands is made up of 15 islands in the South Pacific, with French Polynesia to the east and American Samoa to the west.

It’s been a busy summer for the Gloucestershire institution. Several former and current students will compete in the rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games, and Hartpury is currently hosting the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors 2022.

Hartpury’s facilities have received significant investment during the last few years, notably with the introduction of a specialist performance gym, part of an £8.8million Sports Academy development that allows students to develop practical strength and conditioning skills using real-world equipment and technologies to enhance strength, power, speed and injury prevention.

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