Upcountry Basketball 2021 kicks off in Ganta, Nimba County.

The United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael McCarthy says the Harold McGowan Upcountry Basketball tournament symbolizes a great relationship between Liberia and the United States of America.

Ambassador McCarthy said the tournament which foundation was started by a Peace Corp volunteers in 1968 is a tradition that lies far beyond just relationship.He was speaking on Liberia’s Thanks Giving Day when he served as Guest Speaker and jump the ball to commence the 2021 edition of the Upcountry Basketball Competition in Ganta, Nimba County.

The United States Ambassador who was gowned and given plaque as a token of appreciation added that since 1962, over 4,300 Peace Corps have served in Liberia with emphasis on Education, Agriculture and Health amongst others while he promised to work with Washington for new Peace Corps volunteers after COVID-19.“The rich and colorful history of this tournament is a great example of the great relationship between the United States and Liberia; this culture of understanding between the Liberia and the united states has not change and has not swing and that is still the mission of the peace corps,” he asserted.

Also speaking, the Minister of Youth and Sports, D. Zeogar Wilson admonished the young athletes to focus on their education.Minister Wilson using himself as example stressed that basketball is a short term career and must be buttressed with quality education for a sustainable future.“I used to be athlete myself, when I was playing I knew one day that I would be injured and needed a fallback position, so I went to school and today became Minister of Youth and sports because of my education,” he emphasized.For his part, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, G. Andy Quamie thanked the U.S Government through the embassy for the level of support given the Ministry and National government.Deputy Minister Quamie said the upcountry basketball challenge is a catalyst to promote young athletes and decentralize basketball while he pledged the CDC led government continued support youth empowerment through sports.

Meanwhile, today’s ceremony brought together several dignitaries including U.S Ambassador Michael McCarthy, Peace Corps Director, Vernice Irene Guthrie, Former Youth and Sports Minister, Tornolah Varplah, Nimba Legislative Caucus Co-Chair, Representative Johnson Gwaikolo, Nimba Superintendent and City Mayor, Nelson Korquoi and Amos Suah amongst others.

The opening witnessed several interesting basketball fixtures where Booker Washington Institute exited the tournament after losing her double fixtures against Grand Bassa side New Testament 18-17 pts and Botoe Barclay to become the first team to bow out of the competition.While defending Champ, Tubman Gray trashed St. Mary of Nimba County 30-17 pts, St. Martins crushed Ganta United Methodist 26 – 8pts and Brumskine beat CARROLL High 21 – 11pts to wrap up the day’s basketball excitements.

source: Sports fm/tv

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