Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee delivered its 7th Edition of the Papua New Guinea Sports Hall of Fame with the induction of three outstanding sport legends, on Thursday, 8th of December 2022.
The PNG Sports Hall of Fame was initiated in 2011 to honour and preserve the legacy of the individuals who excelled in the past, recognizing sporting accomplishments, bringing pride and distinction to our country, and who have contributed to the development of sport in PNG.
The three individuals inducted were the late Joseph Abraham Turia from sport of Football- Soccer, Veitu Apana Diro, from the sport of Netball and Basketball and Tau John Tokwepota from Athletics.
The first inductee was Olympian and King of the Road – Tauvau John Tokwepota, from the sport of Athletics.
Tau John is Papua New Guinea’s best-known long-distance runner, and has etched his name into PNG’s sporting history with his unbroken 46-year record in the 10,000m and Marathon events, in the sport of Athletics
He holds six of the 10 fastest 10,000m races in PNG in a remarkable career, of which he still holds the National Records for the 10,000m (31:21.4 in 1976), and the Marathon (2:28:13 in 1980) and won 18 medals from competing at both the (South) Pacific Games and the Pacific Mini Games. He also represented Team PNG in two Commonwealth Games and the first Olympics that PNG competed in 1976, in Montreal, Canada.
Second inductee Joseph Abraham Turia (1960-2021) is the first inductee from the Sport of Football (Soccer) to be inducted into the PNG Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to the sport.
Turia, predominantly a fullback was widely regarded for his versatility, dribbling skills and sweeping capabilities that saw him Captain the PNG Men’s National Team in the early 1980s.
He enjoyed a long and acclaimed career representing his country as Captain and then National Coach for the Youth Team and eventual Administrator, and was also passionately involved in coaching clubs within the town competitions and national football clubs to many successes.
Turia represented PNG in the following Pacific Games: the 1983 South Pacific Games in Western Samoa, the 1987 South Pacific Games in Noumea where the team won Bronze and in the Second South Pacific Games held in PNG in 1991.
The third inductee was Veitu Diro who commenced her road to the Hall of Fame in the 1950s whilst a student at the Rabaul High School in the East New Britain Province.
She remains classed as one of Papua New Guinea’s finest Netball players, as well as an established and formidable reputation as Captain and Coach in the sport.
Diro would go on to represent PNG again in 1975 at the World Netball Series as Captain and Coach, again in 1979 at the 6th South Pacific Games in Fiji as Captain and Coach, the 1981 Pacific Mini Games as Netball Coach, Coach PNG Netball to Silver Medal Wins at the 1999 South Pacific Games in Guam, and the 2001 Pacific Mini Games in the Norfolk Islands.
In congratulating the three inductees for 2022, Sir John Dawanincura President of the PNGOC thanked them for their distinguished and outstanding feats in their chosen sports and for their collective contributions to each of the three sporting codes and sports in PNG.
Sir John said the PNGOC’s vision was to inspire and unite Papua New Guinea through sporting excellence and success.