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Wrestling in Liberia

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In the early 1800s freed slaves from the United States returned to what is today Liberia and established the first independent African republic called Liberia. The first ten presidents were African American men from the south in the United States. The United States established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864 after freed slaves resettled in Liberia, West Africa.

Liberia was once one of the most prosperous nation on the continent of Africa until a political coup broke out in 1989. From 1989 to 2003, the country saw continued misrule, rebellion, and civil war.

In 2005 Liberia held its first Presidential elections since the war and was declared free and fair by international observers. The latest national elections were held on October 10, 2017. This free and fair election resulted in the appointment of President George Weah, A former soccer star turned political leader. Liberia is gradually recovering from the impact of its 14-year civil war and its latest Ebola epidemic. Following these crises, the United States continues to partner with government donors, and international organizations to strengthen the health systems, development, and the economy in Liberia.

My Name is Alexander Reeves and I am taking the Initiative to help develop sports and recreations in Liberia. My first object of this vast task is to develop the sport of wrestling in the country, and I need your help! I am a former wrestler and now wrestling coach from the state of New Jersey and also the descendant of Liberian born parents. Growing up in an impoverished area with little resources and little hope for a positive future, sports are one of the very few outlets in the community that gives the youth a chance to change their trajectory in life. 34% of Liberia’s population is youth and young adult between the ages of 0-24 years. Wrestling was the sport that saved my life and will be the sport to save millions of young men and women in the country of Liberia.

Wrestling builds character, enables one to overcome obstacles, handle their emotions, and respect authority. It also teaches the importance of discipline and being a good teammate, and that success has to be earned through hard work and determination. All which are important characteristics to becoming a successful and productive citizen. “More enduringly than any other sport, wrestling teaches self-control and pride. Some have wrestled without great skill - none have wrestled without pride.” Quote from Dan Gable a distinguished former American Olympic wrestler and head coach recognized as one of the greatest amateur wrestlers that the country ever had.

Last year,  February 2018, for the first time in history Liberia sent licensed wrestlers to Nigeria to compete in the 2018 African Championships. The team was comprised of 4 individuals, Eric Borkuah, Augustine Flomo, Jarus R. Kollie, and Venecious Juah. The guys battled tough and In the end, Liberia qualified to compete at the 2018 World Championship. Unfortunately, their journey had to end in Nigeria because the team lacked the finances to advance. After speaking with the president of the Liberia Wrestling Federation, Mr. George B. Gould explained that the lack of finances is just one of the many hurdles holding back the team from exhibiting its true potential. Another huge hurdle the team faces is not having an actual training facility. These guys have to practice on the beach with no actual wrestling mat to wrestle on. Also, there are no organized youth teams or leagues to grow experienced wrestlers for the national team.

My goal for this campaign to raise enough funds to establish a foundation to sponsor Libera’s national wrestling team and create a wrestling program for the youth in the country. First on the agenda is to help the team get to this year’s African Champion next month, March 26 to 31st in Tunisia. The national team intends to take a 7 man team to Tunisia. This trip requires funds for accommodation, air travel tickets, allowances, registration, wrestling licenses and incidental. Also, the funds generated will be used to build a training facility that will be the home of the national wrestling team, and a safe haven for the local youth to come and learn how to wrestle. Funds will be allocated to buy and ship the materials needed to build the facility as well as equipment such wrestling mats, wrestling shoes, uniforms, sanitation equipment and funding future travels for competitions.

My goal is a very lofty one, but luckily I’m a wrestler and wrestling has prepared me to take on this large task. I cannot do this on my own. Wrestling is a team sport and I’m going to need as much help I can get! I’m calling all far and near to please help me with this endeavor. If you’re interested in being more involved with this project please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance!


Lex Mwanhaju Reeves
Clayton, NJ

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