Sierra Leone hosts post-Ebola ‘Sports Jamboree’

By Sahr Morris Jr, SWASAL Secretary General

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The six-day sporting fête celebrates Sierra Leone's post Ebola sports recovery (Photo: SWASAL)

FREETOWN, February 16, 2016 – The National Olympic Committee of Sierra Leone’s (NOC-SL) maiden edition ‘Sports Jamboree’ kick-started on Monday at the Siaka Steven Stadium in Freetown with over 12 sporting disciplines in attendance.

 The six-day sporting fête which is part of NOC-SL’s post Ebola sports recovery started with a band procession which was later followed by several statements and exhibition matches in football, ruby sevens and table tennis.

 In his address, President of NOC-SL, Dr. Patrick Coker highlighted that the Olympic Committee was pleased to organize such activities, especially as the country is slowly recovering from the Ebola outbreak which had negatively impacted sports in the country.

 Dr. Coker explained that was why the inaugural Jamboree was themed as ‘Ebola may have taken many, but it has not killed sports.’

 The NOC-SL president paid tribute to executives of African National Olympic Committee Association (ANOCA) for their financial support, and Thomas Bach, President International Olympic Committee (IOC) and his executive board.

 He said: “This opportunity was given to us by the IOC president and his executive board. ANOCA also gave us a small amount of money.”

Before officially declaring the event open, on behalf of the Sports Minister, Deputy Director of Sports Michael Shamsu Mustapha  said that all of Sierra Leone must use sports as a developmental tool, adding that sports has the power to unify people in development.

 The jamboree continued on Tuesday, with athletes from handball, judo, volleyball and lawn tennis all displaying their talents whiles fencers and weightlifters will take the center stage on Wednesday.

 The tournament will also include taekwondo, basketball, and boxing on Thursday, while the swimmers will battle it out in the pool on Friday, whilst the squash players will be locking horns at the Wilberforce squash court the same day. The Jamboree will climax on Saturday with a joint athletics and para-athletics event followed by a cycling race.  

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