The first Olympic in South America has 107 days to the start of the games and it is still not clear whether Liberia’s delegation will be part of the global fiesta.
The Rio Games begin from August 5-21, 2016.
A budget of USD151, 000 submitted by the Liberia National Olympic Committee, (LNOC) has been reportedly rejected by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) because there is no money for the games.
However, it is known that International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity provides air-tickets and accommodation for athletes who have qualified to participate in the games or who have been approved for the games.
So the Liberian delegation should be playing their cards well to be able to take advantage of IOC’s support for the games.
Meanwhile, according to the IOC, 10, 500 athletes are expected from 204 countries. The duration of the games is 17 days and there will be 306 medal events. There will be 161 men’s events and 136 women’s events.
What will happen if Liberia does not attend the Rio Olympic Games? Plenty. Firstly, LNOC officials will miss the greatest opportunity to meet their counterparts and the few athletes that they depend on from the United States to rub shoulders with their colleagues will also lose that opportunity.
Since local athletes may really not do much over there, since officials have not been able to get many ready for the games, they will simply miss the expectation to have been there, anyway. It is true that in the Olympic Games tradition, participating is more important than winning but it does not mean that countries must do nothing practically at home before getting to the games.
It is also unfair to claim that athletes that Liberia had hoped to take to the Olympic Games are domiciled in the United States since they don’t participate in regional and sub-regional competitions. And this is because like other countries, their local athletes participate in competitions organized by international federations and therefore there is always anticipation of athletes that may represent a particular country during such an important celebration.
What about sub-regional competitions? Just as the Liberia Football Association engages in CAF and FIFA competitions, it is expected that track athletes and even boxers could be assisted to reach a level to represent the country.
For a fact Liberia can develop one boxer to win gold at the Olympic Games and to do that the LNOC should take its responsibilities seriously. The dormant Liberia Boxing Association cannot be left on its own to get such an athlete for such a competition because it has serious leadership ineptitude. Another reason is that there is no ring for boxers to train and the one at the cramped gym does not represent any serious nation’s training gymnasium.
Whether Liberia goes to the Games or not should not be the reason we cannot do what is right to prepare athletes for such a prestigious game that is worth attending.