Liberian Athletes Fail To Make Final Cut At 2016 Rio Olympics


Monrovia – Liberia’s representatives at the Rio Olympic Games didn’t past the preliminaries on the track on August 13.

Mariam Kromah was fifth-placed in the 400 meters Heat Six with a time of 52.79 seconds and leveled with Aliyah Abrams of Guyana in the 38th place on the overall rankings of 57 competitors.

“[I] saw you run your heart out for #LBR#. Mariam, we are still proud of you. #TeamLIB#RIO2016#. Next Up is Emmanuel Matadi. You got this. Pay no attention to the big names next to you. Focus on the finish line… Remember David took out Goliath,” said Choicy Di on Facebook on August 13.

Somalia’s Maryan Nuh Muse was ranked bottom with a time of 1:10.14 minutes while United States’ Phyllis Frances won the overall race with a time of 50.58 seconds.

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser won Mariam’s heat with a time of 51.06 seconds ahead of Italy’s Libania Grenot, who clocked 51.17 seconds and France’s Floria Guei at 51.29 seconds.

In the 100 meters, Emmanuel Matadi was ranked at number six with a time of 10.31 seconds in Heat Four, which was won by Canada’s Andre De Grasse with a time of 10.04 seconds.

“WOW!!! Honestly, I don’t know what just happened and don’t know what to say but WOW I ran 10.31 [seconds]. [I] can’t lie. It hurts. [It is] just not acceptable.

But everything has a reason behind it. [I am] on to the next race with much love. “BeWhoYouWannaBe#,” said Matadi on his Facebook page on August 13.

Choicy also didn’t hide her feelings in response to Matadi’s performance. 

“We appreciate you, Emmanuel Matadi, for representing us. Things didn’t go as we prayed and that’s ok because God has his plans for you.  Liberia salutes you and Mariam for your hard work and dedication.

“There are more ahead with both y’all names on them and we put praises on them for you two. #TeamLIB#RIO2016#WeSupportOurOwn. This is not the last time the world will see the both of you,” Di wrote on Facebook on August 13.

Japan’s Aska Cambridge at 10.13 seconds, China’s Su Bingtian at 10.17 seconds and France’s Jimmy Vicaut at 10.19 seconds complete the top performers in the heat. 

Sixty-five athletes were divided into eight heats, including Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade and United States’ Justin Gatlin.

There will be semi-finals one, two and three on August 15, beginning at 12:00AM Brazilian time (03:00GMT).

Matadi will compete in the 200 meters, which will begin on August 16 at the Olympic Stadium.

He will be hoping to upset Bolt holds the world record set in Berlin German on August 20, 2009 with a time of 19.19 seconds and Olympic record set in Beijing, China on August 20, 2008 at 19.30 seconds. 

Bolt is the fastest man in the world, who holds the world record in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4×100 meters relay and won gold in all of those events at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

He is attempting to pull off an unprecedented ‘triple triple’. If he does achieve this feat, he will cement his name as the greatest sprinter in history. Bolt is competing, just as before, in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meters in Rio.

His closest rival is United States’ Justin Gatlin who has posted some fast times this season and has largely been free of injury.

The man who has run the fastest 100 meters time this year (9.80 seconds) and has consistently snapped at the big Jamaican’s heels in major competitions, is part of a fascinating rivalry on the track, even if there is lots of respect off it.

Then there is the second fastest man of all time, Bolt’s countryman, Yohan Blake, who is something of an enigma. Plagued with injury, he has not run competitively since 2014.

But Blake, who boasts a 100 meters best of 9.69, is certainly capable of causing an upset in Rio.

Matadi will also be hoping to upset LaShawn Merritt of the United States in the 200 meters.

Merritt shocked the athletics community with an incredible 19.74 seconds time earlier this year and has clocked under 19.80 seconds three times already in 2016. But Bolt has said on several occasions that he is aiming to break the world record he set of 19.19.

Can Matadi, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Confederation African Athletics senior championship in Durban, South Africa in June, upset Bolt and Merritt? 

The answer will come on 18 August.