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Matiu Ratana: Shot officer nominated for BBC Sports Personality award

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image copyrightMet Police
image captionNew Zealand-born Sgt Matiu Ratana, 54, died in hospital after being shot by a handcuffed suspect

A Met Police officer who was killed on duty has been posthumously nominated for the Unsung Hero category at BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Sgt Matiu Ratana, 54, was shot in Croydon, south London, on 25 September as he prepared to search a suspect.

He was nominated by East Grinstead Rugby Club, where Sgt Ratana was head coach at the time of his death.

The club said the award would be "a fitting tribute to the man we called coach".

New Zealand-born Sgt Ratana, of Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, was shot in the chest in a holding room at Croydon custody centre.

He had been at East Grinstead rugby club for three years and managed the colts team before becoming head coach.

In that time numbers at the club quadrupled.

Player Max Crawley-Moore said: "He had an enormous impact on everyone from how they played, how they could progress, mentally [and] physically.

"We want to make sure his legacy is remembered by this... and the next generation of players see what's been made possible by Matt."

image copyrightNeil Donohue
image captionMatiu Ratana, known as Matt, was described as an "irreplaceable figure" at his rugby club

Jo Cox-Goodsell, captain of East Grinstead Women's first team, said nominating Sgt Ratana "just seemed right and fitting".

Ryan Morelen, assistant head coach at East Grinstead, described Sgt Ratana as a "mentor".

He said: "He is just a truly great bloke.

"He put his time and effort into everything he's ever done here."

The Unsung Hero Award seeks to celebrate volunteers whose efforts have meant sports clubs have made a positive impact in local communities.

The winner will be announced live at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards on 13 December.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionRugby shirts were among the tributes left to Sgt Ratana at Croydon custody centre

Sgt Ratana joined the Met in 1991, having moved to the UK in 1989.

He was originally from the Hawke's Bay area of New Zealand and was educated at Palmerston North Boy's High School.

East Grinstead RFC has launched a crowdfunding campaign in Sgt Ratana's honour, to raise £15,000 to develop rugby at the club.

On Social media the team is asking people to share black and white photos of them playing rugby using the hashtag #TryForMatt.

Related Topics

  • Croydon
  • East Grinstead
  • Metropolitan Police Service
  • New Zealand

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