The Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports has paid tribute to ‘Athletic Team Liberia’ for representing the country and clenching two medals in the U-20 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Athletics Championship.
Liberia’s male shot put athlete Charles Gbelia won Silver Medal, while female shot put star Lawrina Peace Cooper won a Bronze Medal at the ECOWAS U-20 Athletics Championship, held last week at the Cape Coast Stadium in Accra, Ghana.
At an interaction with the team on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Youth and Sports Minister D. Zoegar Wilson and Assistant Minister for Sport James Toe in separate remarks, extended their “thanks and appreciation” to the team amid financial constraints but promised to support sporting federation and associations which are actively involve or engage in programs and activities that would fly the country colors.
Minister Wilson made the statement when the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF) formally presented ‘Athletic Team Liberia’ to him at his office at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
Assistant Sports Minister made his statement after the presentation at his office also.
“I want to at least say a big thank for your participation and the two medalists for the job well done. At least you represented us and brought home something. We will do our best to see if we can give more support to those sporting associations or federation which deserve it, like the Liberia Athletics Federation,” Min. Wilson said.
“We want to encourage the athletes to exhibit love and passion for the sport and go to school.”
“When we were playing for Barrolle and the Lonestar, we also did shot put, and represented the University of Liberia to whip Cuttington University College.”
“Also, when we were playing for the Lone Star, as you are doing, the late Samuel K. Doe offered all the players scholarships to attend any University in the country, it was only three players, who made use of the scholarship, which includes me, Isaiah Lincoln and Solomon Joe.”
“The current Commerce Minister who was the President of the Agriculture Bank at that time was spearheading the players’ scholarship program.” Noted Min. Wilson.
He however said, one day as former shot put champion, he will challenge the current shot put champion Charles Gbelia in a competition.
The Minister said, as a new government, which focuses on pro-poor, they will also try to support athletes to go to school.
For his part, Assistant Minister James Toe said the presentation of the medals to the Ministry is the first since his appointment and encouraged the LAF to focus on training for the athletes to get more silver and bronze.
“We will try as a government to support you to get more than silver and bronze,” Min. Toe told the athletes.
Mr. Mulbah Zaza, president of Liberia Athletics Federation said the federation hopes to get the needed support from the government and stated that with intensive training, the country can get more than bronze and silver, using as example the West Africa Region II Senior Championships and the ECOWAS Junior Tournament in Conakry, wherein Liberia won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals and one gold, two silver and two bronze in Sierra Leone.
Athletics Team Liberia was comprised of Ms. Lawrina Cooper (Shot Put) and Ms. Nancy Saah (100m, 200m & Long Jump.) and Andrew SeleKpehe (1500m & 5000m). Others include Sunnyboy Barcon (100m, 200m & High Jump); Charles Gbelia (Shot Put & 100m) and Coach Ernest Zeigler.