WHERE WAS LIBERIA AT THE PARALYMPIC OPENING CEREMONY?

Featured Image by Rio2016.org

Last night, prideful Liberians watched with anticipation as countries around the world paraded into the Rio Paralympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony. To the disappointment of many people, the Lonestar Banner did not enter into the arena.

Where was, Liberia’s strong man, James Bobby Siaffa?

According to a letter sent to the International Paralympic Committee, Siaffa has taken a stand against issues of abuse and neglect from the  Liberian National Paralympic Committee President and Secretary General. The Powerlifter alleges that he sustained constant verbal abuse, poor treatment, abandonment and no athletic support from LNPC President Jefferson Zoegbeh and Secretary General Festus Robinson.

Siaffa's Letter to the International Paralympic Committee
Siaffa’s Letter to the International Paralympic Committee

As quickly as Siaffa’s athletic profile posted to the official Rio Paralympic site, it was removed. In the letter to the IPC, Siaffa states,

“I strongly believe and know that these two men have a lack of regard and interest in developing opportunities for disabled Liberians.”

Screenshot of Official Rio Paralympic Profile before it was removed. 9/7/2016
Screenshot of Official Rio Paralympic Profile before it was removed. 9/7/2016

Siaffa also cites the lack of effort to develop Paralympic Sports in Liberia and recruit new Paralympic athletes as additional reasons for his tough decision to boycott the Games.

Based on these upsetting allegations, in addition to Siaffa’s expressed fear and discomfort , LIB Olympic Blog supports his choice.

We will contact Siaffa for the opportunity to share his story and what he hopes to accomplish during this time.  A representative for Siaffa informed LIB Olympic Blog about the issue and how the Liberian Government is intervening on the athlete’s behalf.  A full update will be posted soon.

Please view the video of Siaffa’s 2012 Paralympic debut below.

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