Badminton Cook Islands are celebrating after a total of five nominations at the Cook Islands Sports Awards, including two junior players in the Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year categories.
Danniel Daniel was nominated following his ‘outstanding’ record over the last year, taking the national titles in men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles in the U15 and U19 age group recently. He also entered the Open event where he finished runner up in all three disciplines.
Similarly, Tereapii Akavi competed in the Anchor AIMS Games in November 2019 and brought home two medals following a successful campaign in the women’s singles and doubles.
The AIMS team have also made the shortlist for Team of the Year, alongside the team who attending the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2019 for Sporting Achievement of the Year. Additionally, John Taulu is nominated for Coach of the Year.
“I believe that the sports awards are a great opportunity for codes to celebrate the achievements of their athletes especially for us with so many in 2019,” said Badminton Cook Islands President, Thomas Mereana-Ngauru
The junior players are up against other aspiring athletes from athletics, bowls, kayaking, table tennis and tennis who are excelling in their respective sports.
The annual event has a history in awarding the finest achievements, including the countries only Commonwealth Games medallist, Taiki Paniani, who won bronze in the lawn bowls men’s pairs event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Paniani was presented with the Sportsman of the Year title in 2018. Both Daniel and Akavi have hopes to follow in his footsteps:
“It’s a great way to motivate our athletes and to be inspired by other athletes,” said Thomas.
Regardless of the outcome, both players could make history this year as they are on track to represent the Cook Islands in the BWF World Junior Championships 2020 – the first time an individual from their country has entered the World Championships.
The winners of the Cook Islands Sports Awards were originally scheduled to be announced on Sunday 22 March 2020. However, the event has been postponed to a later date (to be confirmed) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.