The administration of the Liberia Athletics Federation (LAF) has named one athlete to represent the country in the Region II Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) U-20, and Senior Opening Athletics Championship in Niamey, Niger, citing the lack of support from the George Weah’s led government to sporting federations, besides football.
The local athletics governing body picked reigning Liberian female 100 meters and 200 meters sprinter, Nancy Saah, for the regional athletics events, which is expected to bring to the fore at least 14 countries, about 400 athletes and 80 technical staff from West Africa.
Nancy Saah, 18, is expected to depart the country on Wednesday, July 24 for the Niamey encounter.
The lone female sprinter is expected to run in two events among female athletes from host Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, La Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Senegal.
LAF president Mulbah Zaza told journalists on Monday, July 22 at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, that the Federation is single-handedly underwriting Nancy’s traveling costs to represent the country in the the Region II ECOWAS U-20 and Senior Opening Athletics Championship, for the country’s flag to be hoisted, and the national anthem be played.
Zaza said since the inception of the Weah’s led government, the LAF has not received any money, and that the government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports has decreed that they will not support any national teams except football. The Ministry of Sports could neither deny nor confirm this claim when contacted, but said it welcomes Nancy’s participation in the Niamey’s event.
“We cannot continue to depend on only financial and technical supports from our international body. We need the budgetary support from the government. Athletics is one of the five active sports in the country and is the only sports that have won more medals representing the country than other sports from international competitions,” Mr. Zaza said.
“Hopefully, Liberia will again be represented at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and for that we need financial help. Football is not the only sport to be supported. We want subsidize and we want the President, the Chief Patron of Sports to support all sports.”
It can be recalled that on Saturday, June 29, during the National Clubs Championship, Nancy Saah set new and impressive records, running 12.5 seconds in the 100 meters race, and 27 seconds in the 200 meters race respectively.