Ghanaian Coach of Liberian Runner Wins First Place Winners’ Marathon
MONROVIA – Ghanaian marathoner, Arkuka Williams and his trainee, Anis Prince Faraj, were winner and runner-up in the first edition of the Winners Incorporated Marathon tournament that took place in Monrovia Tuesday, May 14.
Williams, a Ghanaian and Faraj, a Liberian, who both had come from Ghana, were first and second place winners in the 10 kilometers clearing the cash prizes of L$1,000,000 and L$200,000 with local-based Liberian Harris Mesmore finishing in third place, receiving a prize of L$100,000.
The duo dominated the 10-kilometer race involving over 1,500 active local runners. In the 5-kilometer race, containing 500 inactive runners, 20 winners walked away with L$5000 each after a raffle draw had been done among all of those who made it to the finish line.
Williams, who has had 17 years of marathon experiences, crossed the finish line in thirty-three minutes, 18 seconds while Faraj reached the finish line in thirty-four minutes – eight seconds. Mesmore completed the third-place position within thirty-six minutes – eleven seconds.
However, the awards for two female runners, Nancy Saah and Erica Johnson, who crossed the finished line as first and second runners-up respectively, walked away with a cash prize of L$100,000 and L$50.000.
Speaking in a post-match interview, winner Williams said that the defeat is a signal that Liberian athletes are not training.
This is my first time coming to Liberia and I enjoyed the race. I think it is all about training,” said Williams.
“I heard some of them complaining, but in Ghana if a foreigner comes and wins a race, we wake up and don’t sit.
“This is their country; they don’t have to sit and allow someone comes and wins.
“One time, I won a marathon in Ghana; the following year Kenyan came and won, the following year when he came we beat him. This is a signal that Liberian athletes are not training, so they have to wake up to train,” Williams warned.
Also remarking, Faraj, who finished as runner-up, said that their mission was to scoop all the awards in the tournament.
“We came as the team; our plan was to win first and second places. Looking at the margin of the prizes, we wanted to take the first place by all mean, so whatever strategy we came out with just went well for us,” Faraj said.
Meanwhile, the third-place winner, Mesmore, said Liberian athletes lacked the facility compared to their counterparts.
“We are self-controlled; whenever tournament like this is organized and finished, we normally go our own because it does not happen always.
“Track athletes need to train at least three times a day. This is not the case in Liberia; this is what contributed to me finishing third in this tournament,” he admitted.