30 October 2012

Liberia: Youth and Sports to Re-Launch Up Country Basketball

The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) in partnership with the Liberia Basketball Federation says it is poised to re-launch the Up-Country Basketball Tournament from October 31 to November 4, 2012 in Gbarnga, Bong County. According to a MYS press release, the re-launch of the tournament is in a bid to revamp basketball as part of its (MYS) overall national sports revitalization agenda.
The Up-Country basketball competition is a sporting festival initiated in the 1970s to help promote the game among high school students in the central region, which at the time comprised of Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties. The tournament, the MYS said, will be renamed: "The McGowan Basketball Tournament". It is in honor of Mr. Herald Emmet McGowan.
Mr. McGowan is a former American Peace Corp, who dedicated 20 years of voluntary services to the development of basketball in the country.
The event will restart with a number of targeted schools from counties across the region, which now includes Margibi County. Some of the schools are: Booker Washington Institute (BWI), St. Christopher and Konola High Schools of Margibi County; Lutheran Training Institute, Zorzor and Voinjama High Schools in Lofa County; W.V.S. Tubman-Gray, St. Martin and Gboveh High Schools of Bong County; and ArcelorMittal, J.W. Pearson and Ganta United Methodist High Schools in Nimba County.
Former national basketball star Caleb Dormah, who has been hired to coordinate the re-launch of the exercise, has stated that all is on course to restart the event on schedule. To guarantee that all the rules of modern basketball are properly applied during the re-launch of the once famous tournament, MYS over weekend sponsored a three-day preparatory workshop for game officials and coaches of the participating schools to update them with the new regulations.
Coaches William B. Brown and James W.S. Wrokpoh of Lutheran Training Institute and ArcelorMittal High School told reporters on behalf of other participants that the exercise was an eye-opener for them. They said workshop, facilitated by Liberia Basketball Federation (LBF) Coaches Association's President Varfley and LBF chief referee Solomon Johnson, taught them not only to serve as trained coaches, but also as mentors, guardians and motivators for students who show interest in the game.

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