Young Akunaii makes a big splash

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday, May 4, 2011

RATHER than follow his father’s footsteps and walk onto the rugby league field, Robert Akunaii Jr has decided to step into the swimming pool.
Akunai Sr, who had been associated with the Brothers rugby league club in Port Moresby, as a player, coach and president, has no apprehension watching his son venture into a new sport.
As a sports fan, he has supported his son in taking up swimming – something completely different to the family from Lagakooka village, located 6km outside Goroka township.
Akunaii Jr took up swimming four years ago when he was nine years old and his consistency in training and discipline had helped him travel to a number of overseas tournaments.
One of the highlights of these meets was the 2008 Pacific School Swimming championships in Canberra, which attracted 6,000 swimmers from schools in the Pacific region.
Akunaii Sr thanked Rob Doyle of South Pacific AirConditioning for ensuring his son attended swimming camps.
He will also be there for him during the Arafura Games in Darwin starting this Saturday.
“Without such support, my son would not have come this far and I thank everyone involved for supporting him in his swimming career,” his father said.
PNG Swimming president Elizabeth Wells confirmed that Akunaii Jr was part of the 20-man team to Darwin.
She described Akunai Jr a swimmer with a lot of potential.
“Bobby is young at 13, and should go long way if he continues to commit and discipline himself in the sport.”
Wells said Akunaii Jr  was a very strong swimmer and it was PNGSU’s objective  to get him in top form as they prepare for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Other members for the Arafura Games are: Ashton Kunda, Ben Paton, James Runnegar, Ryan Maskelyne, Ayla Beagrie, Britney Murray, Peter Kunda Jr,  Millie Knight, Stanford Gore, Jenixon Lim, Sam Seghers, Adam Ampa’oi, Nathan Ampa’oi, Marcus Blake, Ian Nakmai, Peter Pokawin, Danny Pryke and Judith Meauri.