Sad death of Indonesian basketball star Jacklien Ibo who had won the hearts of Australians in sports diplomacy


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Very sad sports news has been received from Indonesia that former National and Papua province women’s basketball team member Jacklien Ibo died today at the age of 32 years. According to media reports, the popular 177 cm tall athlete from Sentani suffered from pneumonia for the past year and, due to limited funds, was treated at home. A widow, Jacklien was looking after her three-year-old child.

Jacklien was a member of the Papua Women’s U23 Basketball squad that was brought to Melbourne in May 2008 by Geoffrey Gold's Sports Dynamics for a two-week intensive training program mandated by KONI Papua after they had qualified for the Indonesian National Games (PON).

The 'Papuan Angels' billeted with families of the Diamond Valley Basketball Association, trained under the direction of Basketball Victoria and played friendlies against the Maribyrnong Secondary College, Box Hill Senior Secondary College and the Diamond Valley U16 girls’ team.

As part of their program, they were introduced to Melbourne's love of sports: they met professional basketball players of the NBL's South Dragons and WNBL's Dandenong Stingrays, were guests of the AFL at the Australian Rules Football 'Dreamtime at the MCG' where they met Aboriginal footballers from all around Australia, and they attended the A-League's Melbourne Victory's friendly game against Italian club Juventus at the Dockland Stadium.

The leader of the accompanying Papuan officials, Mr John Ibo - concurrently a basketball dad, head of Basketball Papua, and Speaker of the Papua Provincial Parliament - and the representative of KONI Papua, Mr Henk Rumbewas were received by both the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in the Victorian Parliament, Ms Jenny Lindell, and Cr Carl Jetter representing the Lord Mayor of Melbourne.  

Jacklien and her teammates won the hearts of all the Australians they met, through their deportment as ambassadors of their country and province, and their deep passion for basketball which they played with stirring physicality. 

On their return to Indonesia and their participation in the PON tournament in Samarinda, the Papuans won the silver medal in the final against the home side, East Kalimantan.

Jacklin stood out in talent, personality and aptitude. Her later achievements included being voted Most Valuable Player in the WNBL in 2012 and winning a silver medal for Indonesia in the 2015 SEA Games. 

Rest in Peace young Jacklien. Papua's famous #12.