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.
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.
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.
Featured Image from LiberiaEntertainment.com
Last week, the International Olympic Committee approved the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ event program. The approval included 5 new sports and 15 new events, which will increase the number of women participants and fulfill the committee’s gender balance goal. Out of Liberia’s 46 past Olympians, 9 are women. Liberia’s first female Olympian, Grace Ann Dinkins represented the country in 1984. Since then, Liberia has sent at least 1 female athlete to each attended Game. Liberia has done well sending women to represent the country, at the last 3 Olympics, but how does Liberia support female athletes outside of the Olympics? Let’s take a look.
Featured image taken from FiftyFive.One (Daniel Mick)
FiftyFive.One, a Minnesota based soccer news platform, recently posted a story about Minneapolis City midfielder Martin Browne, Jr. In the article, Browne shares his extensive soccer journey from Liberia to Minnesota. The soccer player shares the pinnacle moment he received a call from the Liberia National Football Team coach, James Debbah, offering Browne a possible spot on the team.
“He gave me a call, he liked what he saw, and while he didn’t promise I’d get a chance to play, he said there was an opportunity with the games coming up.”
Martin Browne, Jr.
The article goes on to share a follow-up call from the Liberia National Football Team requesting Browne at the June 11, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zimbabwe. “It’s a blessing in disguise, happening now,” Browne said.
Click here to read the original article written by Kyle Eliason. Congratulations to Martin Browne, Jr. and best wishes to Liberia’s National Football Team the Lone Stars.
The Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex was built in 1986 and named after Liberia’s 21st President. As Liberia’s largest stadium, SKD sports complex has served many purposes from concerts to football games and holds a capacity of 35,000.
Renovation to the SKD sports complex was approved in 2013 and is finally complete. Pictures showcasing the new and improved stadium started circulating on May 17th. Among the improvements are increased VIP seating, a new lighting system, a digital scoreboard, a new track, and better restrooms.
Dedication of the updated complex has not been determined, but it is believed to occur in time for the West African Football Union tournament. Liberia is a possible host for the tournament in July.
We hope to see more athletic events happening at the new and improved SKD sports complex in the near future. Kudos to the Liberian Government for completing this project.
Featured image from London2012
I hear you want to represent Liberia in the Olympics. Well, you’ve come to the right spot. This article should give you enough information to get started. Getting to the Big Game takes lots of stamina. The journey is filled with competitions and qualifiers, but it all starts with the athlete.
1. KNOW THE QUALIFYING STANDARD
As an athlete, you have to know the qualification criteria for your sport. The international federation that governs your sport sets a basic standard and publishes it to their website. Runners can get qualification standards from the International Association of Athletics Federation webpage. Boxers should visit the International Boxing Association site. Find your international federation and start there.
Sometimes federations publish their Olympic qualifying criteria closer to the Olympic Games. They might even amend the standards. Pay attention to the possible changes. If you cannot find the standards for the upcoming Olympics, use the criteria for the previous Games as a benchmark.
Now that you know how fast you must run or what competitions you must enter, start working towards that goal.
2. TRAIN AND COMPETE
Serious Olympic hopefuls must adhere to a strict schedule. You must learn to weave training and competing into your everyday life. In addition to the time commitment, prepare for the financial responsibility.
You must register and attend specific competitions in order to qualify for the Olympics. Again, you’ll find this information on your sport’s international federation webpage. The costs to train, travel, and compete adds up, but there are ways to minimize these expenses.
If you live in Liberia, you can contact the national federation for your sport. Depending on your sport, this could be helpful. Some federations are more active than others. Liberia has 29 sports federations/associations.
In 2015, the Ministry of Youth and Sports established guidelines for each government funded federation and association. These rules were created to monitor the organizations and assist them with their missions. If you qualify, your sport’s federation should assist you in representing Liberia. Below are some active Liberian Sports Federations.
Other national sports federations/associations include golf, kickball, amputee football, taekwondo, weight lifting, karate, volleyball, cricket, lawn tennis, handball, swimming, cycling, wrestling, netball, chess, wushu, canoeing and rowing.
If your sports federation is not active, you can still compete in international competitions, but you’ll have to represent a local club. This means your club will have to register you and assist you with funding.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also offers athletic training scholarships. Financing your journey will take time and research.
If you live outside Liberia, don’t depend on the national sports federations for too much help with training. Their job is to develop their sport within the country. You might need to take advantage of your local resources (schools and clubs), until closer to competition time. Even during competitions, Liberian sports federations have struggled to finance Liberian athletes. Still, try to communicate with the federation. They might be able to guide you in some area.
Remember the IOC offers scholarships. Do your research. A little research can go a long way.
What if Liberia does not have a federation for your sport? No problem. The Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC) can vouch for you.
3. CONNECT WITH LIBERIA NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
The LNOC submits the final roster for the Liberia Olympic Team to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC then decides whether or not to accept each athlete as Liberia’s representative. It’s the LNOC’s job to make sure every athlete is qualified to represent the country.
Visit the official Olympic webpage to contact the LNOC.
If you have been training, competing, and meet your sports’ Olympic qualification standard, you might get the chance to represent our beloved Lone Star. Keep in mind this process is easier read than done.
This path can be filled with bumps, sharp turns, and even dead ends. You will probably spend half your time trying to reach the appropriate contact person and the other half searching for funds, but don’t give up. Remain persistent and keep working hard. I believe both of these issues will get better over time.
Read more about becoming an Olympian in the Olympic Charter.