Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Fiamalu Penitani (Musashimaru), Jack Sullivan and Dave Shoji were honored during a banquet last night.

Hawaii Sports
Hall of Fame
welcomes 3
new members

They have a number of things in common: a continuing passion for their sport, an appreciation for those who helped them attain their goals and humility.

Last night, Dave Shoji, Jack Sullivan and Fiamalu Penitani shared one more thing. The three were inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame and Cybermuseum during a banquet at the Honolulu Country Club.

Penitani, who wrestled in Japan as Musashimaru, donated his topknot cut during his retirement ceremony in 2003. The Waianae High graduate won more tournaments than any other foreign sumotori, including 12 Emperor's Cups denoting tournament championships.

He is the fourth sumotori to be inducted, joining Jesse "Takamiyama" Kuhaulua (1999), Salevaa "Konishiki" Atisanoe (2001) and Chad "Akebono" Rowan (2002).

"I was very surprised about this, I didn't know there was such a thing," Penitani said. "Looking at everyone who is in ... it is a little bit unreal. I'm very happy.

"I think this is good for the sport but when we will get another (sumotori from Hawaii) is a good question. Someone's got to take that (Hawaii) flag back up there."

Sullivan has carried the soccer banner for 30 years as a coach, official, organizer and promoter. He and Shoji, the Hawaii women's volleyball coach since 1975, were inducted in the pioneer category in the first year they were eligible.

The trio comprises the seventh class for the Sports Hall of Fame, which has been housed at Honolulu International Airport and the Bishop Museum. They bring the number of inductees to 97, representing the best of Hawaii's athletic accomplishments, locally, nationally and internationally.

The three join Olympians such as Duke Kahanamoku, Tommy Kono and Aileen Riggin Soule, pioneers like Molokai Hoe founder Toots Minvielle and Peter Fithian of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, and champions such as surfers Fred Hemmings and Margo Oberg.

"It's quite an honor, to be included with all the famous names of Hawaii sports," said Shoji, 870-150-1 in 30 seasons with four national championships. "I've been at the dinner before, seen the names at Bishop Museum.

"I'm surprised because I thought you'd have to be retired, had to stop what you're doing, to get in. But I'm honored and I'm grateful to all the players who made the program successful."

For Sullivan, being inducted ranks right up there with the Boston Red Sox finally winning the World Series and the New England Patriots capturing the Super Bowl.

"This really is unbelievable," said Sullivan, who came to Hawaii from his native Massachusetts in 1957.

Sullivan's wife, Mary Kay, added to the surprise when flying in the couple's four children from the mainland to attend the dinner.

"It's amazing the number of nationally and internationally significant athletes in Hawaii," said Larry Price, the chairman of the hall's executive advisory committee. "I think it's educationally important for our young kids in Hawaii to see what can be accomplished by people who grew up here, live here, right where they are growing up."

Nominations for the Class of 2006 can be submitted in writing to HSHOF, Box 30666, Honolulu, 96820-066. The Web site is www.alohafame.org.

E-mail to Sports Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com