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Liberia: No Medals, but Better Representation

The proud moments, the competition, and the consistency of being on the international stage.

In contrast to football, which is Liberia’s most popular sport, where the nation still finds it difficult to earn berths in significant international competitions, athletics is where the nation is making a stronger impression.

The country was represented at the World Athletics Championship for the fifth consecutive year, and for the second year in a row, there was more than one athlete from the country competing.

Participating in the World Games goes beyond the athletes as individuals, as they are proudly representing their country.

One only gets such a chance to represent their country by earning a berth at the national championships.

Three athletes, Joseph Fahnbulleh (men’s 200m), Emmanuel Matadi (men’s 100m), and the lone female, Ebony Morrison (women’s 100m hurdlers), all of whom are based in the United States of America, competed for Liberia at the 2023 World Games in Budapest, Hungary.

Joseph Fahnbulleh (200m)

The athlete who performed the best was Fahnbulleh, the first Liberian to ever place in the final of the World Athletics Championships. He once again made history by qualifying for the men’s 200-meter final twice in a row.

 The 21-year-old’s outstanding performance began with his advancement to the semifinals. He finished second in Heat 3 with a time of 20.42.

He eventually qualified for the men’s 200m final after finishing fourth in his Heat with a time of 20.21.

Fahnbulleh, unfortunately, failed to place on the podium for the second time in a row after failing to place in the top three. However, he finished in the top 10 rankings of the men’s 200m. 

The sprinter has excelled while representing Liberia in every international competition, despite not winning a medal. He has fought his way through to the finals of the two World Games and one Olympics that he has competed at.

Fahnbulleh, despite being a debutant, became the first Liberian to ever qualify for an Olympic final in any event on August 3, 2022, making it a historic day in the country’s athletic history.

He broke the previous national record to set a new one at 19.98 seconds at that Olympics in the men’s 200-meter race. He had previously set the record at 19.99 seconds in his semi-final.

He currently holds Liberia’s men’s 200m record with a personal best of 19.83.

Emmanuel Matadi (100m)

Before being later joined by Fahbulleh and Ebony, Matadi initially served as the sole barrier for the Liberian flag at the World Games and other international events. 

Budapest 2023 was his fourth World Games. He advanced to the semifinals after finishing third in heat two with a time of 10.13 seconds. 

Matadi improved his time by clocking 10.04 seconds in the semifinals, but it wasn’t good enough to see the 32-year-old advance to the final.

He finished 11th overall at the event.

Matadi holds a national record of 9.97 in the men’s 100m.

Ebony Morrison (100mH)

Ebony was the unlucky one in Budapest, as she missed out on advancing to the semifinals; for the second time in a row. She finished sixth in her Heat with a time of 12.93.

Ebony has not yet advanced to the semifinals at the championships, despite the fact that her most recent time is better than her previous World Games time. 

Ebony, 28, has a 12.74-second national record and personal best, which she broke in August 2021 at the 2020 Olympics.

The trio will now set their sights on the Paris 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

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