How to Protect Athletes and the Integrity of Sport

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Sports of Writers of Liberia's President Roland Mulbah with smiling Youth & Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson recently at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium

The appointment and confirmation of former Mighty Barrolle and Lone Star goalkeeper Zeogar Wilson as Minister of Youth & Sports should be a cause for optimism.

Optimism because we can rest assured that Minister Wilson and his Deputy Andy Quamie, who have had many years in sports, and at the level of Confederation of African de Football (CAF) should be capable enough to pursue policies that can help transform the youth and the sports sector.

Additionally, the Liberia Football Association is planning to elect a new corps of leaders and so, in the end, they are supposed to work for the interest of athletes and protect the integrity of sports.

And in doing that there is an Olympic idea that I am convinced should guide the actions of the men and women who are charged to lead the campaign.

Protect Athletes

How is it important to protect athletes and from what? Athletes are the mainstay of sports and therefore they are to be helped with life-skills that after their days in sports, could guide their actions.

There is an Olympic Philosophy that says: Learn so much about sports. Learn how to lose, and learn how to come back and become a better person. So the objective of sports, as far as the Olympic Ideal is concerned is doing away with “other” influences to be able to perform and celebrate the joy of personal effort.

It means that as Liberian athletes seek assistance to better their performance in competition, they should depend solely on what they can obtain through training and encouragement without any form of ‘medication’ that could provide them any physical advantage.

Integrity of sports

The participation of sports should provide a set of principles that could lead athletes to become better individuals. Our sporting disciplines should provide our athletes means to be honest in their decisions as athletes.

Hence it is important that the Liberia National Olympic Committee increases its presence in the activities of the federations whose sports are part of the Olympic Movement.

It is true that every athlete enjoys his/her achievement in a performance in all honesty. And so, to be able to obtain that, it is important that sports administrators should be guided by truth in their actions and what they can provide as a consequence of that.

Hence, as the two officials mentioned earlier are determined to do, we should find grassroots sporting institutions that can make the greater impact on young people and encourage them.

That is why it is commendable that Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Quamie said recently that the government will provide adequate support to sports institutions that are making noticeable progress on the young people.

We should follow the Olympic Spirit to inspire young people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles that are built on the values of friendship, excellence, and respect.

About the author: Journalist Omari Jackson is a 1989 graduate of the International Olympic Academy, located in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

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