As part of Islands Business’ build-up to this month’s Pacific Games in Honiara, correspondent Alipate Pareti looks at 21-year-old Cook Islander decathlete, Max Teuruaa.
Teuruaa, who is training in New Zealand in preparation for the Games, sat down for a chat online with Pareti.
“I’ve been growing up in New Zealand in a small country town called Kaukapakapa in the north of Auckland, New Zealand. I went to a country primary school and was very involved in sports. And that is where my love for athletics grew…I think when I was 11 years old, and I’ve been doing it for 10 years now.”
“And I just kind of grew into it especially as a young athlete because of the camaraderie; the team work that we got to put in, the team events and just the friendly and welcoming environment that was there.”
It has been a fun and exciting journey for Teuruaa.
“What I love about athletics is, I get to unleash my full potential. And I get to see, and reap the rewards and see just how well I can perform. And it’s a challenge you know, I find it a real test of my own ability. And that’s why I love it and why I’ve been involved in sports my whole life. And that’s why I chose the decathlon. It’s a good all-round event and it describes me perfectly.”
Teuruaa is preparing well for his first Pacific Games. His entry is also the first in a long time for Cook Islands to compete in the decathlon, since Akanoa William in 1989.
“This will be my first international competition. I’m excited to be able to represent an event that has not been represented very widely. I’m excited and hopefully [will] put the Cook Islands out there as a decathlon nation. And hopefully I can do them proud and that’s all that I really want from it. So, I’ll do the best that I can.”
“Preparations have been really good. Luckily now the weather is warming up over here. It’s been quite cold in New Zealand. So, gearing up, especially competing in the Solomon Islands, I was quite worried that I wouldn’t be ready for the heat. Now it’s finally getting up. It’s only 24 degrees or so over here but I’m happy the sun is finally coming out. I’ll be able to train with a warm body and be able to do some events outside. So, yes, it’s gearing up very well. We’ve just about a month left until the event. I’m really looking forward to what I can do in the next 4 weeks or so.”
Teuruaa enjoys competing in the decathlon and shares his favorite events from the 10-events packaged sport.
“Some of my favorite events in the decathlon are probably hurdles and javelin. Ever since I started hurdling, I’ve always found it a real challenge and that’s what I like about it. One small mistake and everything could go wrong. And I love the technicality of it; being able to hopefully, theoretically glide over the hurdles as smoothly as possible. It looks so majestic and that’s what I love about it.”
“In javelin, it’s kind of the opposite. I just love being able to throw something as far as I can. And it has just been a natural thing for me, you know. Growing up in the country…all the time I’ve just been throwing things into the paddock, downhill, uphill, and across the country. So yeah, it’s just another event that I love and I get to leave it all out in the field and enjoy myself while I do it.”
Teuruaa acknowledges his family for their unyielding support.
“My biggest motivation would definitely be my family and the people that are closest to me. They drive me and I’m always looking to make them proud. As long as I can show all my efforts out there when I’m competing. That’s the main thing. And they always back me up and support me through it all. So, that’s where a lot of my motivation comes from. I’m always looking to improve and do my best.”