All posts by Janelle Madeah

THE JOURNEY TO WORLDS: LIBERIA’S 4X100 TEAM

With 46 days until the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships, Liberia has formed a men’s 4×100 relay team.  The hope is to be one of the 16 qualified teams present in London from August 4-13, 2017.

There are two ways to qualify for Worlds: (1) Top 8 teams from the 2017 IAAF World Relays and; (2) Top 8 best ranked teams at the end of the qualification period which is July 23, 2017.

Liberia National Men's 4x100 Relay Team
The men’s 4×1 Team preparing to take the track. L to R: Matadi, Sirleaf, Selman, and Zaza

On June 17, 2017 in Stockbridge, GA, the newly formed relay team tested their chemistry.  Leading was Wellington Zaza who handed the baton off to second leg, Paul Selman.  Next up was Akeem Sirleaf who passed it on to the anchor, Olympian, Emmanuel Matadi.

For their first time running together at a trial meet, the four athletes ran the relay in 40.80 seconds.  The top 5 spots have been filled since the IAAF World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas leaving 11 ranking positions up for grabs.  Liberia will need to run under 39 seconds to secure a spot for Worlds.   With additional practice meets, they are confident they can reach that mark and represent Liberia in London come August.

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All four athletes take great pride in the opportunity to represent their native land, Liberia.  To those aspiring to represent Liberia, the message from Matadi is to, “Trust the process” while Zaza says to, “Stay persistent.”

The team will be running at more trial meets to build upon what they have created.  The next meet will be on June 24th, 2017 in Alabama.

Follow the 4×100 Relay team on their social media: Wellington Zaza @ripqw; Paul Selman @pspeedy03; Akeem Sirleaf @keem_james_6; and Emmanuel Matadi @matadi.

 

 

Liberia National Men's 4x100 Relay Team

LIBERIA NATIONAL ATHLETICS TEAM WIN BIG IN GUINEA

The Liberian Observer shared some great news, over the weekend. Liberia’s national athletics team won four medals at the West Africa Region II Senior Championships and the ECOWAS Junior Tournament in Conakry, Guinea. The competitions were held May 12-14, 2017.

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LIBERIAN DOMINATED FOOTBALL CLUB STANDS OUT AHEAD OF U.S. OPEN CUP

Featured image from Junior Lone Star FC LinkedIn

The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup began in 1913-1914 and is the second oldest uninterrupted soccer tournament in the world. It is recognized as the U.S. Soccer National Club Championship. With an intense four-round match up, both amateur and professional US-based soccer teams travel across the country for a chance to win it all. Fifty-six teams will enter the qualifying first round, on May 9th and May 10th. The final match will take place on September 20, 2017.

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW: EMMANUEL MATADI

 

It has been nine months since the 2016 Summer Olympic games.  Many Olympians have jumped right back into the groove of preparing for meets, including Liberia’s very own.  Since the beginning of 2017 Emmanuel Matadi has competed in four meets.

Matadi ran the 100 meter race in 9.96s (+3.0 wind) at the Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas at Myers Stadium on April 29, 2017.  This time ranks him at number six under Wind Assisted Marks on IAAF’s website. We wish him continued success!

Check out Matadi’s 200 meter race at the Grenada Invitational below.

 

 

LIBERIAN BASKETBALL: WHERE ARE THE BALLERS?

Featured image Liberia Basketball Federation Logo.

Basketball in Liberia has been growing, since 1964.  Although Liberia has not made an Olympic appearance, the country has been to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) African Championship.  This tournament is Africa’s premiere club competition, as FIBA hosts both national and club matches. In 1983, Liberia placed 9th out of 10 teams and in 2007 the team finished in 16th place.

A recent Facebook post has brought Lib Olympic Blog’s attention to the exhilarating sport in Liberia. Mr. Wes Smith, a member of the Ja’BELLEH Sports Mag Facebook group, recently posted some great Liberian basketball news.

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SURFS UP: SLIDING LIBERIA

Featured Image from Liberian Surfing Association

In August 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved five new sports to debut at the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan.  They are baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, and surfing.  The decision to add these sports are the product of a two year process to refocus the Olympics with innovation, flexibility, and youth development in mind.

“The five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

Thomas Bach – IOC President

One of these sports in particular has been emerging in Liberia, since 2005. Surfing.  Yes, you read that correctly.  However, you won’t hear Liberians saying, “surfs up.”  To Liberians surfing is known as “sliding” on the water.

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Barrack Young Controllers Football Club: GO BLUE BOYS

April 9, 2017 Liberian Champions, Barrack Young Contollers (BYC) took to the field at Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) to compete in the Confederation of African Football cup (CAF) against Super Sport United Football Club “Matsatsantsa.”

byc-line-up-2017
Barrack Young Controllers Football Club (Image taken from Liberia Sports Online).

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FOOTBALL AND MUSIC: LIBERIA’S UNIQUE BLEND

Featured Image from Liberia Football Association

Before any match up/game, one will likely see athletes with headphones on.  Look a little closer and spectators can feel the passion from the intense look on the player’s face. Focused eyes stay ready to conquer the opponent. Athletes internalize the blaring sounds and release that energy on the field. Music has the tendency to do that. It affects moods, inspires ideas, gives senses of encouragement, but most of all brings people together.

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1, 2, 3 STICK: LIBERIAN ATHLETES GIVE BACK

Featured Image from FaithLivedOut

In track and field, relay races are one of the most highly anticipated events.  Comprised of four runners (legs), they each must seamlessly pass the baton within the exchange zone to insure the last leg crosses the finish line for the win.  Counting steps for the exchange zone is imperative.  Practicing the baton release requires a rhythm: 1, 2, 3 … STICK. 1, 2, 3 … STICK!  In the same way that relay runners pass the baton, two Liberian athletes have made the bold decision to pass the baton to aspiring athletes in Liberia.

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LIBERIAN SOCIAL GROUP COMES TOGETHER TO RAISE MONEY FOR LIBERIA’S OLYMPIANS

The value is not in the money.   The value is in the cooperation.” – Samuel Koimene

On August 4, Samuel Komiene decided to take action.  He, along with friends: Angelo Koimene, Thomas Yolain, and Chris Konneh make up “The Herd”, a group that symbolizes unity and togetherness.  The Herd is responsible for the $10,000 “Supporting Our Own: Olympian” GoFundMe Campaign circulating around the internet. In 14 days, the campaign raised $1,990, but still has a long way to go.  Below, Samuel shares what inspired him and his friends to start the campaign and how he plans to get the money to the athletes.

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