• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

'Flying' Charles – A Sporting Obituary From VASANOC

While Vanuatu is still basking in the aftermath of our greatest achievement in a Pacific Games from the 8-Gold haul in Samoa2019 and our 39th Independence Anniversary festivities, a legend of Vanuatu sport peacefully passed on.

The late Charles Godden – Flying Charles - passed away on 30 July 2019.

He was one of the Fabulous Four who clinched Vanuatu’s first historic Gold medal in a Pacific Games. This was in the 1969 Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

VASANOC was represented at the funeral service at his residence at Blacksands by CEO Henry Tavoa and Anolyn Lulu, Chair of Vanuatu Athlete’s Commission and multiple Pacific Games Gold Medalist.

Also present were two of his ‘brothers’ from their glory days, Seru Korikalo and Jean Tranut. The former is first Sport Hall Of Fame Awardee and Tranut is Honorary President of Athletics Vanuatu.

Korikalo spoke of their athletic days and that famous and glorious Golden win, 50 years ago. He added that Charles was still a student at British Secondary School (now Malapoa College) when he was selected to the National Athletics Team. He was dubbed Flying Charles by his friends because he was the fastest of the lot.

“Tranut was the fastest starter,” he said. “Rolland was fastest in the 100M stretch and I was fastest around the bend. Under the coaching of Late Allan Bell, was how and why we were positioned to win our first Gold.”

He added that Late Godden had been officially invited by VASANOC and VAN2017 organizing committee to be part of the flag bearers of the Pacific Games flag at the opening of the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, but due to his medical condition, he could not participate.

Korikalo concluded that he had dedicated the Hall Of Fame Award he received early this year to Godden, the Fabulous Four and to former athletes of Vanuatu.

Speaking on behalf of VASANOC, Tavoa said, “People never forget people that achieve first things for the country.

“Charles, Seru, Yves and Jean were the first Gold medal winners in our history in the Pacific Games.

“Team Vanuatu has just returned from Samoa2019 Games with a record of 8 Gold Medals, but the first-ever Gold was one won by these four.

“The legacy of our Gold Medals in these Games were set by these Champions 50 years ago,” he said.

Tavoa thanked Mrs Leipua Godden and family for being part of Flying Charles’ athletics success and his contribution to Vanuatu sport.

VASANOC expressed its sincere condolence to Mrs Godden and family from Mota Lava and Ifira Tenuku.

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