New Plymouth teenager Aidan Zittersteijn has been named in the Cook Islands bowls team to compete in April’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Zittersteijn, who has just finished as a student at Spotswood College, was officially named in the team during a training camp on the Rarotongan greens last weekend.
“This is definitely my biggest moment in bowls,” said Zittersteijn, 18, who qualifies for the Cook Islands through his maternal grandfather.
“It is a great thrill to be named in the team.”
All bowls countries send sides of five men and five women to the games, with the men splitting into pairs and triples in week one, followed by singles and fours in week two.
“I’m not sure which disciplines I will be involved in yet. They will be revealed at the next camp, which starts on March 13.”
After spending a week in Rarotonga, the team will continue its build-up for a further week in Auckland, before settling into the games village on March 26.
“I can’t wait,” Zittersteijn enthused. “It’s going to be good to stay with the other athletes.”
Zittersteijn admitted that he was going to “try and go for gold” but equally acknowledged the toughness of the competition that lay ahead and the need to “take each game as it comes.”
Australia, as the hosts, and New Zealand, who are well overdue success in the men’s section, loom as the two countries to beat.
Zittersteijn, who still harbours hopes of playing for New Zealand one day, said that it will be alright if he clashed with the Kiwis. “We will just try and beat them!”
Zittersteijn comes from rich bowling stock. His father, John, is a national gold star holder in the indoor code, which he too has excelled in.
He will become the seventh Taranaki bowler to attend the games.
Stratford baker Eddie Leach competed in the inaugural games in 1930, with Dave Baldwin taking part with success in 1974 (gold) and 1978 (silver). Pearl Dymond won a silver medal in 1982 and other Taranaki bowlers to feature have been John Murtagh and Maurice Symes (both in 1986) and Brian Baldwin (1998).