Robby knows no boundaries

The National, Thursday July 21st, 2016

SPORTS have taken Frank Robby to more than 50 countries.
At 60, one would expect him to be slowing down.
Not Robby. He is stepping into bigger roles, and will be one of the few, if any, Pacific islander to officiate in this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The five-time Oceania powerlifting gold medallist represented PNG in weightlifting – the sport that helped him shoot to fame – in the last three Commonwealth Games.
From a humble beginning, Robby’s work and sports principles were based on honesty and transparency.  Family and work were high among his priorities.
The father of four from Tikawi village of Ambunti, East Sepik, was introduced to weightlifting by the Tokana brothers, known in the sport, while he was the manager of the Lae Biscuit branch in Port Moresby in 1984.
He trained in a gym at the Gordon Police Barracks and excelled in national events for over a decade. In 1999, he competed in the Mini-Pacific Games in Tonga.
His commitment and love for the sport saw him holding the president titles in weightlifting and powerlifting – a natural progression for many in  weightlifting – from 1992 to 2002.
In 2003, Robby was selected to attend a month-long refereeing course in Sigatoka, Fiji, and acquired an International Weightlifting Category Two Referring card, enabling him to officiate in fully-fledged international competitions in this part of the world.
Robby refereed in the Oceania Championships the following year and in 2005 in the Mini South Pacific Games in Palau.
Because of his outstanding performances at  the Continental level, the International Weightlifting Federation moved him to officiate at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The following year he refereed at the Pacific Games in Samoa and  competed in powerlifting. The Oceania Championships and the Pacific Games saw him officiate in Auckland, New Zealand, and then the Commonwealth Championships in Penang, Malaysia.
The five-time Oceania powerlifting Championships gold medallist was promoted to the jury bench where he officiated at the 2010 Oceania Championships in Suva, Fiji.
He was also appointed a technical official for weightlifting in three Commonwealth Games 2006 in Melbourne, 2010 in India and 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
He will be in Rio next month, also as a technical official in weightlifting, making him the first Papua New Guinean and Pacific islander to officiate at any Olympics in the sport.
Robby said: “Refereeing in an international competition comes as nothing new to me but this has mostly been in regional competitions such as the South Pacific Games and the Oceania Championships. To officiate at the Olympic Games is a real bonus.”
He is the vice-president of Oceania Weightlifting Federation, vice-president and technical adviser of PNG Weightlifting Federation.
He holds a Category Two International Weightlifting Federation Refereeing card and is employed by Finance Corporation Limited as the manager of assets and security.
Robby will be going places for a while yet.