Football might be the most popular sports around the globe, but in Jamaica, track and field has more followers than soccer.
It is no secret that in Liberia football dominates the sporting arena—a dominance that originates from childhood through high schools and on to the national scene.
Others sports of attraction are kickball – a female sport – and basketball (which also has its beginning in schools) being the only sports available for students as part of their extracurricular activities.
There is still track and field that does not receive huge government support but attracts many young Liberians, one of who is Kadmiel Enders. Kadmiel graduated from Kingdom Foundation High School in Paynesville, and has found a path to his future.
“I like to do things differently regardless of what people think of it,” is the philosophy of high jumper Enders.
As a kid, he said he was good at soccer and his coach would include him in the team, but deep down his heart, “I didn’t want to join the huge number of people playing football. This could make it difficult for me and others who want to have the chance to explore their talents.”
Inspired by his sister Keziah (also a high jumper), Kadmiel burst on the national scene in 2010 during a national trial at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex when he jumped 1.6m.
“I was a stranger to high jump and went into the trial with confidence and surprisingly came up as the highest jumper,” Enders recalled.
Even though track and field has brought him the highest number of awards, he said he does not have access to training equipment to prepare him for competitions; and given how difficult it is, he practices without a coach.
“I go into competitions with a fixed mind; I do not let the performance of other athletes intimidate me and I use all my skills to take me to the top,” Enders said, which has brought him success.
In 2012 he finished second at the ECOWAS Games in Accra, Ghana and in Liberia won first place in the County Meet.
Enders’ worst performance so far in his career, he said, was in 2013 when he finished 6th in the African Junior Athletics Championships in Mauritius.
He recovered from his worst performance to win second place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in a sub-regional junior competition.
And the 22-year-old added another gold medal to his successes during the 2017 West Africa Championship in Conakry, Guinea after he jumped 1.90m to win the men’s category on May 14. Bigger competitions lie ahead and Enders has a big dream.
He said his role model is Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim.
Barshim, 26, is a high jumper who holds his country, Qatar and the Asian record. He won a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships, a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“My dream is to compete at major competitions against other athletes to show to the world what I am capable of doing by making the difference, fly the Liberian flag high and become a role model for others,” Enders said.