Katoa punches for Rio via China

The National, Monday July 18th, 2016

BOXER Thaddius Katoa left yesterday for the Oceania-Asia Olympic qualifier in China as the final lead-up for the Rio Olympic Games next month.
Katoa will compete in Rio on a wild-card entry after being nominated by the International Olympic Committee on the recommendation of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee.
Coach Joe Aufa said the 19-year-old Carteret Islander from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville had huge potential in the sport. Aufa said Katoa would not win a medal in Rio but if he continued to improve his skills in the amateurs, he could be in a good position to strike at the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Aufa, who first spotted Katoa at the 2012 PNG Games in Kokopo, said he a believed the Bougainvillean had the potential to be a champion, if not a gold medallist.
The PNG national coach said Katoa had made steady progress since joining his stable. Katoa proved his class by winning gold at the Pacific Games last year and then went on to claim the gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa.
Coach Aufa said Katoa’s rise would continue and the youngster would carry the torch for boxing once held by the likes of Lynch Ipera, another Bougainvillean.
Katoa will be the second PNG boxer to qualify for an Olympic Games on a wild-card entry.