Papua New Guinean rugby league player dies at 23
WIDNES, England (AP) — Kato Ottio, who played for Papua New Guinea at the Rugby League World Cup last year, has died after falling ill at training. He was 23.
English team Widnes Vikings announced Ottio’s death, saying he was due to fly here this week to play in the upcoming Super League.
Ottio signed for Widnes at the end of last year from Australian National Rugby League team the Canberra Raiders.
Widnes says Ottio “developed a sudden health issue while training” on Sunday. Australian media reported that Ottio collapsed after a long training run with players from the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby and died later in hospital.
Ottio was a winger in the Papua New Guinea side that won its group at the World Cup before losing to England in the quarterfinals.
Widnes coach Denis Betts says “all of us saw at the World Cup the incredible gifts that Kato had, and his potential to forge a great career in rugby league.”