By JACK AMI
THE national men’s volleyball team (Amoa) head into next month’s Pacific Games on a somber note following the passing of skipper Ravu Mahuru in Port Moresby yesterday.
Mahuru, who was also the skipper of national champions Vabukori Volleyball Association (Vava), passed away at 9am at the Port Moresby General Hospital after a short illness, according to team manager Ronald Omoa.
“Had it not been for his illness, he would have gone on to become the first Papua New Guinea volleyballer to play in five consecutive Pacific Games,” Omoa said of the 36-year-old.
Mahuru led the team at the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 Pacific Games, with PNG winning bronze in New Caledonia eight years ago.
Omoa said PNG Volleyball Association held Mahuru in high regard as he was one of the “best power hitters the country had ever produced”.
“I’ve known Ravu for about 13 years. He was naturally talented. He was known for his dynamic and powerful spikes,” he said.
“Ravu had a humble and reputable attitude, and was always reliable at the local, national and international levels.
“He was a man of few words. He let his performances do the talking.”
Omoa said Mahuru was given time off after falling ill during the final selection trials in Port Moresby in April.
“But he was unfortunately ruled out of the Pacific Games early this month due to his medical condition,” Omoa said.
Omoa said he would not reveal Rau’s medical condition as the volleyballer’s family were grieving.
“Vabukori village and the volleyball fraternity around the country are devastated at the news of Mahuru’s passing,” Omoa said.
Mahuru represented Vava since he was 17 years old and went on to win 14 straight titles with the association from 2004 to last year – 13 of them in his capacity as skipper.
He won the best spiker award on 12 occasions at the national championships.
Omoa said Mahuru’s body would overnight at Vabukori on Friday before the funeral and burial on Saturday.
By JACK AMI