Cook Island paddler Hunter gathering va’a momentum at Port Moresby 2015

first_imgHunter, one of the Cook Islands’ top-ranked athletes in the discipline, believes the Pacific Games are as good as it gets for paddlers because va’a – or outrigger canoeing as it is also known – is not an Olympic sport.“For us, this is the big event. This is basically it. We all want to win here,” said Hunter, who used to compete internationally in triathlon.Hunter won the bronze medal in the women’s V1 500m race on Tuesday and will also be competing in the V1 10km on Friday and V6 20km on Saturday.When she talked about the competition for her and other Cook Island paddlers at Port Moresby 2015, she said that all countries entered were looking strong.“We’ve pretty much medalled at all previous Games for canoeing,” she said.“So, we’re coming here pretty focused, but I have to say by the level of competition at these Games, everyone has really stepped up their game.”While Hunter was playing down her chances of winning gold in Port Moresby, she did finish sixth in her debut at this year’s Molekai solo in Hawaii.The Molekai solo is a gruelling 55km outrigger race starting from the island of Molekai and finishing on Oahu.As the first Cook Island women to compete in the race, Hunter said it was a real challenge.“I took me just under five hours,” recalled the two time Cook Island sportswoman of the year.“It was just a goal, I’ve been paddling for about 10 years, so Molekai solo is always like the big holy grail and something you want to do at some stage.”So, as Hunter continues to stay focused for her next races at Port Moresby 2015, she was keeping mum on whether she would do the Molekai race again.“I would not say never say never,” the 43-year-old said with a chuckle…..PACNEWSlast_img read more