Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Sports has presented the country’s participants in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on 14th July 2014 at State House. This is the 20th Edition of the games since its inception.

President Koroma handing over the Sierra Leone Flag to the President of the National Olympic Committee

In welcoming the delegation, the President recalled earlier statements made at State House when he received the Queen’s Baton in this regard and underscored the fact that even though he may not be joining the delegation, he expressed words of motivation that his spirit and fellow citizens will be with them.

“I am hoping that this meeting will motivate you to represent Sierra Leone and to do the best that all of us are expecting,” he said.

Sending such a delegation to Glasgow, President Koroma said, represents the changes that are taking place in the country, and a clear indication that Sierra Leone is gravitating towards becoming a sporting nation that is healthier and that “we can depend on our youth to develop their God-given talents”.

He therefore cautioned all the athletes that in a moment like this “when you go out there, you should all know that you are representing Sierra Leone and the world is watching. Everybody will be there watching. We want to adhere to international standards and best practice; we should stay away from anything that is against the normal rules of the activities in which you are going to compete.”

The President warned against crimes like doping and further stated that involvement in such crimes is not only a disgrace to the athlete but also to the country and encouraged them to stay away from it. President Koroma further gave words of encouragement to the athletes to consider this representation as an opportunity to them, and continue to develop those talents.

“I am sure coming back and developing your talents can take you to the highest level, you can become the star that you wished to become.” He urged them to do it very well and to the best of their abilities.

President Koroma expressed satisfaction over the variety of talents that the country is developing and urged everybody to remain focused. He also gave fatherly advice to the athletes to commit themselves in this endeavour.

“You have to be serious about it, you have to train and work very hard and commit yourselves to it,” the President advised.

As a form of motivation to the delegation, President Koroma said winners of medals will be adequately rewarded added to other things that will be provided for them.

“Government will adequately reward you as a person and I am sure you will live with that reward for a very long time,” President Koroma emphasized, and implored them to consider the games as their own way of contributing towards the transformation of the country.

According to the Minister of Sports, Mr. Paul Kamara, the forty man delegation, which comprises athletes, cyclists, boxers, table tennis players, judo fighters, weight lifters and squash players is the first to represent the country at the games.

“Mr. President, it is during your tenure that the country has witnessed an outburst of talents in not just football, but in all types of sports,”

Minister Kamara said, and boasted that in football rankings, Sierra Leone is 9th in the entire African continent (ahead of Cameroon and South Africa), and also holds the enviable position of 45th in FIFA world rankings ahead of China.

The President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sierra Leone, Dr. Patrick Coker said the athletes as well as officials are particularly thrilled that the President has accepted to give them a farewell address.

He promised President Koroma that they are not going to come back empty handed, and appealed for the needed support to the committee for them to realize the needed results, He also informed the President that they have athletes who are living abroad that are competing under the ticket of Sierra Leone.

The forty man contingent will comprise the Minister of Sports, the President of the NOC and athletes. The meeting was climaxed by the handing over of the national flag by President Koroma to the President of the NOC.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent The New Rising Sun’s editorial policy.

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By State House Communications Unit