Liberia To Feature One Athlete At Olympic Games

A Liberian sprinter based in the United States, Emmanuel Matadi will be the only athlete to represent the country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Matadi won bronze in 200 meters at the 2016 African Championships and in the 2017 world championships, he was one of three Africans to advance to the semifinals of the 100m in London.

He represented Liberia in 2019 at the 17th World Championship organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Doha, Qatar.

After his race in Doha, Matadi took to social media to reflect on his year and thanked everyone who had supported him. He closed his note with, “next up 2020 olympics … God is good.”

Matadi went on to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with an amazing time in the 100 meters, which will see his country’s flag hoisted, while singing the National Anthem.

Matadi’s qualification came amid stiff requirements for sprint athletes to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Matadi ran in 10.1 seconds in the 100 meters in an approved IAAF race in Montverde, Florida on July 6, 2019, where he accrued to himself +1.8 added value to his previous running. During the competition, the best track and field athletes from around the world were competing head-to-head. On the opening day, Matadi raced and advanced to the second round with 10.19 seconds. However, Matadi did not advance to the finals but his 2019 season was great as he set a new personal and Liberian 100 meter record — 10.01 seconds, thus qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

The 100 meter runner also holds Liberia’s national records in the 60 meters, 100 meters and 200 meters.

Born on 15 April 1991 in Monrovia, Matadi has specialized as a Liberian Olympian in sprinting events. He has represented his birth country of Liberia in the 2016 Rio Olympics, African Senior Championship and 2017 world championships. Matadi has become more than just a sprinter in the eyes of Liberia’s citizens but more so a national hero.

Matadi attended the University of Louisville before transferring to Minnesota State University, Mankato. At MNSU, Matadi won national titles in the 100m and 200m.

Liberia has sent athletes to every Summer Olympic Games held since 1956 with the exception of 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1992, although the country has never won an Olympic medal. No athletes from Liberia have competed in any Winter Olympic Games.

The 2020 Summer Olympics is an upcoming international multi-sport event scheduled to be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

Originally due to take place from 24 July to 9 August 2020, the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not allow international spectators.

Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes.

This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.

Tokyo was selected as the host city during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 7 September 2013.

The 2020 Games will mark the second time that Japan has hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the first being also in Tokyo in 1964, making this the first city in Asia to host the Summer Games twice. Overall, these will be the fourth Olympic Games to be held in Japan, which also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1972 (Sapporo) and 1998 (Nagano). The 2020 Games will also be the second of three consecutive Olympics to be held in East Asia, the first being in Pyeongchang County, South Korea in 2018, and the next in Beijing, China in 2022.