Liberia: Hail Ebony Morrison for Setting National Record at World Indoor Championships in Belgrade

The 27-year-old was the best performing female African hurdler as she ended up finishing 13th in a field of 24 competitors according to the overall rankings.  

Ebony Morrison, Liberia’s female athletic star, last Saturday scored a new national indoor record in the women’s 60 meters hurdles at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Yugoslavia when she finished in 8.07 seconds in the semifinals.

The record finish time did not earn Morrison a slot in the final, but the 27-year-old ended up as the best performing African female hurdler as she ended up finishing 13th in a field of 24 competitors according to the overall rankings.  

Morrison earlier set the national indoor record when she qualified for the semifinals after clocking 8.9 seconds in the qualifying heats.  She later went on to break the national record for the second time in the   semifinals, finishing in less than 0.2 seconds.

Over 670 athletes from 137 national teams were present in Belgrade, Serbia for the global indoor event.  Morrison’s compatriot, Wellington Zaza, who booked his place in the 2022 indoor championships by 7.69 in the men’s 60 meters hurdles, tying the national record held by Sultan Tucker since 2011, had an unfortunate race in the qualifying heats.  Zaza, 27, clocked 7.8 in heat 6, finishing in the 7th out of eight competitors. 

Sprinter Emmanuel Matadi, who was due to compete in the men’s 600 meters, did not compete after he was tested positive for COVID-19.  The trio, along with Liberia’s first-ever Olympic finalist, Joseph Fahnbulleh, will now use the coming months to prepare for the IAAF Championships, due to take place for the first time in the USA, from July 15-24, 2022.

Liberians, including their government, must give every encouragement to the trio, Tucker, Zarzar and Matadi, as they prepare for the IAAF championships.  Let us remember that as Africa’s oldest independent republic, we have been participating in these IAAF  championships for a very long time.  We owe it to ourselves and to our participating athletes to do everything possible to prepare our teams for these sporting events so that the Liberians will not only marshal a good showing in the USA but go forth and WIN some trophies and return home triumphantly.

We owe it to ourselves to do this.  Being the oldest independent African republic, we have been witnessing and even participating in these events for a very long time, the first independent African nation to do so.  We are fortunate to have a leader who is himself an international sportsman — a football superstar — President George Manneh Weah. 

He has been there and knows what it takes to represent Liberia in the international sports arena.  No one has to tell him what to do to assure Liberia a reputable place in this arena, especially in the arena of football, known in many places as soccer.  

Before he became involved in politics, he was a football superstar.  That indeed gave him the idea that he could go on to bigger things — the Liberian presidency — which the Liberian people gave him.  Now that he has become the first footballer to become President of Liberia, Mr. Weah owes it to himself and to the Liberian people to lift football in Liberia as never before — why? Because there has never been a footballer who has been elected President of Liberia.  He is the very first and therefore he should know that no one else can lift football in Liberia better than he. 

Who else can — no one else — why? Because that is his area.  He is a footballer — the first to become President.  So who can push a football in Liberia better than him?  Today Liberia should already be a leading football nation in Africa because we have a President who became President through football.

Why do we have to say all this?  Doesn’t Mr. Weah know this already?  Of course he does.  So one of his   primary responsibilities is to lift Liberian football as it has never before been lifted.  Why? Because we have never had a President who is a footballer.  We have had many great Liberian footballers, but none except George Weah ever rose to the presidency of Liberia—only George Weah. 

So why isn’t Liberia already among the leading African football nations?  We have a President who knows all about football.  He knows nothing else more than he knows football.  

And there is no one else among African leaders like him.