The spikes are stored but passion lives on Media Release by Athletics Cook Islands 5/4/2019
Today marks the end of an era for our top female Cook Islands sprinter 25 year old Patricia Taea. Patricia confirmed her retirement to the national federation, Athletics Cook Islands this week. Although Patricia will no longer grace the track with her power and speed, she will remain active with the development program of the federation.
President Erin Quirke says she understand the demands and challenges of a representative athlete. “It is sad to see any athlete come to the end of their career, but Patricia has a long and successful history” says Quirke. “She has been a powerful ambassador for the country and remains a fantastic role model for our young athletes. As a federation, I look forward to working with Patricia to support her passion for youth development. Athletics is in your blood, you may hang up your track spikes, but you will never leave”.
Patricia is of Mangaia and Aitutaki descent, she raced through the primary school and college ranks under coaches Ray Preston and the much loved Ake Hosea (Sparky). Patricia still holds Tereora College records in 100m, 200m, Javelin and Long Jump. As a 17 year old Patricia entered the international arena at the 2010 World Juniors in Canada. We could say the rest is history. But there is so much in between then and now. Apart from the many exciting countries that Patricia travelled to compete in, there is a tale of personal challenge, physical battles, mental strength, dedication, perfection, sacrifice, and victory. Patricia is a quiet, humble and intelligent young woman and her personal character together with her physical talents made her a formidable opponent and one of the highest performing home grown athletes of our time.
Patricia holds the senior national records for the 100m, 200m and 400m. Patricia’s achievements include Gold and Silver medals at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu. Patricia resided at the Oceania High Performance Centre in the Gold Coast under coach Tony Fairweather, returning to Rarotonga in July last year.
“Sacrificing a lot for a sport I love was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” said Patricia Taea. “The life of an athlete required a lot of courage and commitment, it was the best experience of my life. On the one hand I am happy that all the training sessions that ended with me throwing up have come to an end – but at the same time I am sad because I will miss representing my country on the track.”
On life after the track, Patricia had this to say “I plan on studying education and playing other sports socially, as well as spending a lot of time with my family, especially my nieces. I haven’t been around much when they were born but now that I am living on the rock, I love spending time with them”.
Patricia works full time as a Teacher Aide at Te Uki Ou school. She is a member of the national Olympians association, Olympians Cook Islands and of Athletics Cook Islands. In 2019 you will see Patricia at the Prince of Wales Primary School Champs and at the National Youth Athletics Championships, and active on Olympian projects.
The people of the Cook Islands salute you Patricia on your retirement. Meitaki maata, thank you for bringing pride and joy to our sporting world.