-Final phase heats, trophies ceremony at SKD
For the first time ever in the post-Ebola activities of the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF), more females have been recorded than males in the ongoing 2019 Inter-School Athletics Championship in both categories — Youth and Junior — which began on Thursday, March 21, at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville.
Only four of the six events were held on Thursday, while the remainder and the awarding ceremony will be done today, March 22. The 100 meters, 400m 1500m, 4x100m took place yesterday in the Youth and Junior categories, as well as in the Boys and Girls versions.
The finals in the 100m, 400m, and 4x100m will be held today, including the finals in the 200m, 800m.
According to the LAF, females between ages 9 and 19 constitute about 57% of the athletes, while the males, also between the ages 9 and 19, make up 43%.
Coach Samuel Cooper said the increase in the number of girls in athletics has contributed to the “work” of the Liberia Track and Field Coaches Association.
He indicated that before this Championship, girls’ participation dropped two times behind the rate of the boys, but the LAF is happy for the development.
He pointed out that there are more girls’ participation in track and field from schools in rural Liberia, including the three first-timers and the new ones such as the Ganta United Methodist School in Nimba County; Kafiki Foundation and Shello Memorial of Margibi County.
Female sprinter (400m) Nula Enders, 22, said the more participation of girls in athletics makes her happy because track and field develop the mind. Ms. Enders is a senior student at the Stella Maris Polytechnic, studying electrical engineering. She also happens to be reigning Miss Stella Maris Polytechnic.
LAF’s 100m sprinter Tonieh S. Dahn, 20, said she was also impressed at the increasing female participation in the 2019 Inter-School Athletics Championship. She is a freshman at the University of Liberia, studying Geology.
This year’s Championship is the 13th edition, organized and sponsored by the Liberia Athletics Federation. In the opening program of the Championship, Assistant Sports Minister, James Toe, on behalf of the Ministry of Youth & Sports, encouraged the athletes to exercise fair play in the “run, jump and throw events.”