At Ambassadors Cup Table Tennis Tournament, President Sirleaf Praises Chinese Embassy for Helping to Mold Youth through Sports
Chinese Ambassador pose with the runner-ups of the three table tennis tournament categories – boys’, girls’ and men’s.
Monrovia, Liberia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China near Monrovia for helping to mold the minds of young people through sports. The President said she was particularly delighted that Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua was personally involved in promoting peace and reconciliation in Liberia through his annual tennis competition.
According to an Executive Mansion release, Liberia’s Chief Patron of Sports spoke Saturday, at the close of this year’s Ambassador’s Cup Table Tennis Tournament, held at the Chinese Embassy Compound, in Congo Town. Said the President: “I want to thank the Ambassador for all he has done to encourage sports,” adding, “As Minister of Youth and Sports Eugene Nagbe said, sports is the one thing that unifies us. If there are differences on issues, once we come on the sporting field, we all become Liberians.”
She urged Liberians to encourage and promote sporting activities as a side attraction for the development of the young people in the spirit of reconciliation, and not to the detriment of their well-being, such as placing sports ahead of a sound education.
For his part, Ambassador Zhao said he was gratified by President Sirleaf’s comments and would continue to host the annual event which he believed would help to cultivate the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. He was motivated by the presence of the Liberian leader at the event, he said, and described her as “a great leader who is eager to see and feel the development of the young people in the way it will accrue benefits for themselves, communities and their country as a whole.”
The Chinese Ambassador said he sees sports as a powerful tool to empower young people; that sports cultivate a strong sense of competition, hard work, learning and cooperation. He told President Sirleaf that these were the benefits which the participants in the competition were taking back to their communities.
“These table tennis games will further enhance friendship between Chinese and Liberians, and I would like to use this opportunity to express China’s commitment to the friendship and cooperation that subsist between our two countries,” he noted.
Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe termed China a reliable partner in government’s commitment to making sports a unifier, and pledged government’s cooperation, as far as sports is concerned, in molding the minds of the young people. “Tennis, track and field, and sporting events other than football are equally good, and we have to invest in these sports too since it seems not to be paying off. We will work with the Chinese in making tennis a sport loved in Liberia,” the Youth & Sports Minister promised.
Minister Nagbe used the occasion to announce that a team of Chinese engineers is presently in the country to conduct an assessment of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, in Paynesville, for possible renovation as part of an Agreement between both countries on the maintenance of the facilities.
During the program, President Sirleaf and Ambassador Zhao engaged in an exhibition match, with the President winning in the best out of two matches – the second time in two years.
As part of the ceremony, the Liberia Table Tennis Association presented Certificates of Honor to the Chief Patron of Sports, Ambassador Zhao, and Youth and Sports Minister Nagbe for their commitment in promoting table tennis in Liberia. The Association’s president, Amos Korvah, said his organization saw a compelling need to honor them, as they have stood by it in popularizing the game in the country.
The participants observed a moment of silence in honor of the Association’s late president, Lord Bode Brownell, for his efforts in building LTTA into a responsible sporting organization.
Players Karbo Wehn, Lovetta Davis and Armah Kamara won the boys’, girls’ and men’s categories, respectively, with cash prizes and trophies offered by the Chinese Embassy and presented by President Sirleaf.
The Ambassador’s Cup Table Tennis Tournament is an annual event geared at promoting table tennis in Liberia as is widely played in the People’s Republic of China.
By Al-Varney Rogers
Monrovia — The Liberia National Table Tennis Association has completed a one-week International Coaching Course Level one conducted by an Egyptian coach in Monrovia. Table Tennis is one sport in Liberia that has been swept under the rug as a result of the 14 years civil conflict.
Coach Mohammed Gharib said Tennis players from senior to cadet have shown commitment despite lack of support. He urged the players to start using the new techniques learned during the one-week training.
For decades Liberians have been active table tennis players
Presently there are two table tennis clubs in Liberia:
2- Liberia United Table Tennis Club
This is a private club formed in 2013 after the war, to promote talent and keep children off the streets.
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