The sport of Athletics in PNG is mourning the untimely passing of Edward Bai, the oldest of three brothers who all represented PNG in the 1990s. Edward was best known as a long and triple jumper, though he was also an accomplished sprinter. A summary of Edward Bai’s athletics career, complied by Athletics PNG Life Member Bob Snow, is below
Edward Bai – Athletics Career
Edward was first recognised as a potential member of the PNG Team when he came second in the Triple Jump, and sixth in the Long Jump at the 1990 National Championships in Rabaul. The following year he won the Triple Jump in the Trials for the 1991 South Pacific Games.
A good all-round athlete, he made the final of the 200m in the 1992 Nationals in Lae, and was second behind Baobo Duaba-Neuendorf in the 400m Hurdles. He claimed third position in the Long Jump at those championships and won the Triple Jump by a huge margin.
In the 1994 Nationals in Lae, Edward came second in the 200m Final, behind Peter Pulu and ahead of his younger brother, Samuel. He went on to win both the Long Jump and Triple Jump.
The 1995 Nationals were once again held in Lae, and Edward won the Triple Jump yet again.
In the 1997 Championships in Goroka, Edward was a finalist in the 400m (with the gold going to his younger brother Geoffrey) and won the Long and Triple Jumps. The following year he won the Long Jump at the Nationals in Lae.
With a stellar domestic career, Edward also represented PNG on several occasions.
He was part of the team to the 1995 South Pacific Games in Tahiti, competing in both the Long and Triple Jump. In the 1997 Mini Games in Pago Pago Edward won the bronze in the Long Jump with an excellent distance of 7.00m (+2.0 mps), and also competed in the Triple Jump.
In the 1998 inaugural Oceania Athletics Grand Prix competition in Port Vila (Vanuatu), Suva (Fiji) and Nuku’alofa (Tonga), Edward won the Long Jump competition, also competing in the 100m and 200m events. Returning to Nuku’alofa he won the Triple Jump in the Oceania Championships, and competed in the 400m and the Long Jump. The 7.21m National record he set in the long jump in 1998 stood for 19 years
Edward was a fine athlete and fine person. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the Athletics’ fraternity. I knew him as a student, as his coach and as a friend. I am so glad that I have seen him a few times in the past five years, and I send sincerest best wishes to his nearest and dearest. Rest in Peace Eddie.
(Photo by Bob Snow taken in 2015)