It’s about time that the Government of Liberia must begin to address and make strong investment in sports, Liberian ambassador to the United States, Jeremiah Sulunteh has said.
Speaking at the 1st Liberian Athletes Reunion award banquet held on June 14, in Philadelphia, USA, Ambassador Sulunteh said not much has been done about the insurance and continuous wellbeing of athletes who bear the national color.
“It’s sad to see former national heroes and heroines dying of avoidable sicknesses simply because of the lack of health insurance or lack of money; such issues must be immediately addressed by both the government and athletes,” he said.
Ambassador Sulunteh lauded the establishment of the Liberian Athletes Union and hoped it would provide direction to cater to the health, professional, and emotional needs of all Liberian athletes.
He said, “Sports could potentially benefit Liberia economically only if the government, private sectors, and the citizens can provide strong financial investment and moral commitment to all sporting disciplines in the country.”
”Additionally, athletes themselves have to be patriotic to the nation first and all other things must become secondary,” the ambassador said.
The ambassador, who played sport in high school and college, made an initial contribution of U$500.00 on behalf of the Government of Liberia and challenged the organizers to make the dream of the Liberia Athletes Union a reality.
In a related development, Ambassador Sulunteh disclosed that a potential investment opportunity for Liberia sports industry may be arriving soon in the country.
The ambassador, who recently met with Mr. Roger Heckey, an American investor, expressed interest to explore the possibility of manufacturing sporting products in Liberia.
According to information, if the arrangement workout with the Liberian government, Mr. Heckey will relocate part of his production lines from China to Liberia and help prepare Liberian athletes for the 2016 Olympics.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Sulunteh, along with former national football star Beneditt Wisseh, (aka Mama Musa) and basketball player Eric Daniels, presented distinguished awards to 34 sporting personalities from Liberia.
Those honored in football are: Garretson Sackor, Borbor Gaye, Dr. Charles (Babe Ray) Wolful, Jadeh Williams, Tarpeh Roberts, Josiah N. Johnson, and Philip Robertson.
In male basketball, Nathaniel Seto, William Bill Flowers, Leon Clark, Tarr Harris, and Charles Wordsworth were honored.
In female basketball, Andrea Kiahon-Knowlden, Linda Collins, Dawn Tolbert, Gbour Wilson, Alice Holder Anderson, Dr. Ophelia Weeks, and Florence Kamara received their awards.
In table Tennis, Joseph Sherman, Charles Collins, Kenneth N. A. Best, and George Dunbar received their honors.
In sponsor/team president category, the late Sam Burnette, Thelma George, Asamade Kaba, and Jonathan Mason were awarded while in Track & Field, Mr. Joseph Namah, Dr. George Johnson, and Mr. Edward Kai received honors.
The following personalities received honors in sports media and broadcasting: Mozart Dennis, Jerry Wion, J. Garsuah Yamento, and the late Herbert Grisby.