‘Team Liberia’ Denied Entry into China

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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has denied Team Liberia entry into China to participate in the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics as part of preventive measures against the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, the Liberia National Olympics Committee has said.

LNOC president Philipbert Brown told the Daily Observer Thursday that he had been informed by Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe that “Chinese President Xi Jinping called President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to explain the Chinese government’s decision.”

Mr. Brown said: “Minister Nagbe also said the Chinese government expressed regret for the action and promised to [re]pay our expenses.”

The LNOC boss indicated that International Olympic Committee also extended its regret over the inconvenience.

He added that as of yesterday, Team Liberia is currently in Accra, Ghana heading back home.

Team Liberia comprised of a five-man delegation of athletes Tracy Chayee, 16 and Momolu Sambai, 17, and their coaches, and is headed by the LNOC’s Assistant Secretary General Frederick Pratt. The team departed Liberia last Monday.

China (PR) has sent a medical donation valued at US$1.7 million to the Liberian government to fight the Ebola scourge in the country. The donation, already in the country, includes personal protective equipment, hospital curtains, sanitizers, disinfectants and patient monitoring equipment.

Team Liberia would have participated in the 400m hurdles (Ms. Chayee) and 50m freestyle swimming event, (Sambai). This is the second Liberian delegation to suffer denial from participating in a sports event since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country.

The Liberia Handball Association was recently prevented from participating in a handball competition in Lome, Togo.

Meanwhile, LNOC President Brown regretted sending off Team Liberia in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.

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