— Part of #TeamLiberia for Cross Country Road Race in Australia
16-year-old Saybah Morrisline Kolee won the gold medal at the end of a pulsating women’s road race in Gbarnga, Bong County, after outpacing athletes Grace Diago and Precious Thomas.
Saybah outran her main rival with about a three-minute margin and reached the finish-line in 1:37.31, followed by Grace and Precious in 1:40.21 and 1:45.11, respectively.
The 16-yr-old is now Liberia’s fastest middle- and long distance runner.
This is Liberia’s first cross-country road race to be held on the main streets and in the forest (Kpatawee), organized by the LAF in four years, after a 10-kilometer road race in Buchanan, Grand Bassa (2019), and Gompa, Nimba County (2020). The deadly COVID-19 virus caused the cancellation of the 2021 edition.
Over the weekend in Bong County, about 100 persons, including professional and amateur athletes, young and old, participated in the 11-mile race from Phebe Hospital junction to the Kpatawee Waterfall (comprising tough off-road) on Saturday, December 10.
The one-day’s race event was organized in collaboration with the Bong County Sports Committee under the theme: “United and Healthy Bong”.
Saybah was awarded a goal medal with L$15,000, while Grace and Precious wore Silver and Bronze medals and received L$10,000 and L$5,000 respectively.
Saybah is the defending female champion of the 2022 Half Marathon held in Monrovia and “Best Female Athlete” in the 2021-2022 National County Sports Meet where she won three gold and two silver medals.
In the Men’s category, Lee Robert Dennis won gold with a time of 1:13.00. Mr. Harris Melemore and Mr. Alexander Atto emerged second and third with times of 1:14.08 and 1:15.00, respectively.
Meanwhile, the LAF has selected four athletes, one coach, and a team leader to attend the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia. One person will represent the Ministry of Youth and Sports on the delegation.
The Liberian delegation includes Saybah Kolee, Grace Diagor, Marcox Sackie, Lee Robert Dennis and coach Timothy S. Kollie. The Ministry of Youth and Sports will be represented by Mr. Gabriel Brimah. The team leader is LAF Secretary General, Samuel Choko Cooper.
On 18th February 2023, the world’s best distance runners will descend on the regional city of Bathurst, in New South Wales and it will be the first time for Australia to host the World Athletics Cross Country Championships and the first time in the Oceania region since Auckland in 1988.