Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Cook Island athlete strikes gold in the Finnish Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation tournament

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Cook Island athlete John Wuatai-Tariau wins double gold in the Men’s White Belt category. Photo: Provided
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Kendall Vano | Reporter

Cook Island athlete John Wuatai-Tariau, has emerged the standout fighter at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Finnish Open held last Sunday at the Tikkurila Sports Hall. Representing the Hipko team, John impressed everyone with his performance, winning double gold in the Men’s White Belt category for both +100.5kg and the Open Weight Class.

Speaking about his experience, John says, “Over the weekend, I had an amazing experience and managed to bag two gold medals. It was my first competition, so I’m pretty stoked with the result!”

John paid tribute to his coaches at Hipkosalit and Hipko Performance Training, as well as his fellow students and teachers, who supported him throughout his journey.

John wins his matches. Photo: Provided

John’s success serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and highlights the importance of dedication and hard work.

John’s height and size initially made him stand out from the other competitors, and his choice of takedowns during the matches also drew the attention of spectators and fellow fighters. Despite only training in Brazilian JiuJitsu since February 2022.

His enjoyment of the journey and his dedication to the sport enabled him to achieve this remarkable feat. John says, “The key being: Enjoy the journey and the result will come.”

John in action. Photos: Provided

Apart from his success in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, John is also a player coach with the Warriors Rugby Club Helsinki, winning three national titles since moving to Finland in 2015. He has also earned two caps with the National Rugby team, which has seen significant progress in the World rankings in recent years.

John has a simple message when asked what is the secret to success. “You already know the go, God and Family first, the rest will follow.”

John has also received positive and supportive feedback , including his opponents, who have complimented his execution of specific parts of his game plan.

John’s ultimate aim is to keep improving and competing at higher levels, all while ensuring that his family life is not impacted. “ I am looking forward to competing at higher levels in which there are plenty more to throw.”


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