The Late Kato Ottio’s funeral was held today at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex. Hundreds of men, women and children in the nation’s capital turned up to pay their final respects.
The indoor complex was filled with special guests, family and mostly, fans. Many came to pay their respects to the late Kato Ottio.
Members of Parliament and superiors in the sporting fraternity made time available to witness the service of this young Kumul.
The casket arrived at the Indoor complex at 10am and was carried in by members of the PNG Kumuls and Hunters team, ushered by his family and current Hunters players.
As the casket made its way into the complex, many stood in silence, grief-stricken, as they watched their young hero being laid in front of the podium.
His eulogy was read by his elder brother, Ahulo.
He described his kid brother as a determined, humble person, who was always eager to learn.
Minister Justin Tkatchenko paid his tributes, saying watching Ottio progress throughout his short career has been nothing but spectacular, and has become an inspiration to many young boys in the country.
PNGRFL Chairman, Sandis Tsaka, described Ottio as a person of virtue, a person of professionalism, and always humble.
Tsaka said he will be missed by many, and will always be remembered in the Rugby League fraternity.
Ottio has left behind a legacy which will be remembered for generations. His humility and drive to always do better will be a reminder to many people.
An emotional PNG Hunters captain, Ase Boas, spoke on behalf of the team, saying Ottio was not only a teammate but a brother. A brother who will be dearly missed…a brother who has left the team heartbroken.
A poem was written by a member of the Hunters team in memory of the late Kato Ottio.
Current Kumuls captain, David Mead, sent his tribute from France, which was read out by Ase Boas.
Mead wrote, he first met Ottio during the 2015 Pacific Test and had labelled the 23-year-old as a true friend, who will be remembered as a passionate rugby player, who always had a smile on his face.
After the sermon, the viewing eventuated.
Long lines were made as more than 3,000 people flocked the indoor complex to take one last look at the Rugby League star, and pay their respects. His teammates were the last, as they grieved over their teammate, friend and brother.
After closing the casket, the PNGRFL officially handed over Ottio to his family.
A Kumuls jersey was presented by John Wilshere and Michael Marum to Ottio’s mother.
The casket was then carried out of the indoor complex and into the funeral home vehicle.
Thousands stood on the sides of the road as the casket was driven out and back to the funeral home.
Ottio will be taken to Tatana Village on Monday afternoon before being buried at the Tatana Cemetery on Tuesday.