Athletics legend passes on


A MEMBER of PNG’s athletics team to the first South Pacific Games in 1963 in Suva, Fiji, Robert Bola of Matupit Island, East New Britain, has died.
According to athletic expert Bob Snow, Bola passed peacefully in his sleep on Dec 8.
“It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of Robert Bola, father of the current PNG athletics team manager, Nola Peni, and grandfather of Miriam Peni,” Snow said.
Snow said Bola competed in 1963 in the long and triple jump.
“He was part of the huge extended Matupit Island family of top athletes. The Matupit “honour roll” reads like a who’s who of PNG athletics,” Snow said.
“In 2015, while researching PNG’s athletics history, I contacted Takale Tuna and he educated me about this Matupit connection in our sport. The long and involved web of intertwining families is incredible.
“All related to Robert Bola are current PNG athletes; Rellie Kaputin and Theo Piniau and from yesteryear we had Takale Tuna, Ezekiel Wartovo, Bernard Manana, Nellie Leslie, Silas Tita, John Vuia, Rosa Maira, Sir John Kaputin and Ivan Wakit.
“Coming from such a strong sporting heritage it is natural that both Robert’s daughter and grand-daughter would excel in athletics.”