2 Liberian Athletes Abroad Give Back to Home Country

Two Liberians, Phobay Kutu-Akoi and Decathlete Maya Neal sprinter/Olympian are undertaken two wonderful projects that are ongoing aimed are helping to bring back home to their compatriots. The two athletes have been collecting new/gently used track shoes and running sneakers for onward distribution for their fellow athletes in Liberia.

According to Janelle Addy of the Liberia Olympic Blog, over 60-70 pairs of shoes which is considered as the latest have been shipped to Liberia to be used by Liberian athletes. According to the Liberia Olympic Blog, during the 2011- 2012 season, Liberia Olympian Phobay Kutu-Akoi began a shoe collection with the intent to send the shoes to Liberia after each season.

Liberian Heptathlete Maya Neal (Image taken from IL.Milesplit.com)

The Blog said with the help of some few friends, a shipment of 45 running spikes, 31 running shoes and 26 bags made its way back home, in October 2016.

The Blog further noted that due to limited space, all the collected shoes could not be sent with the shipment; two friends of Kuto Akoi, Porsha Lucas and Otis McDaniel were instrumental in this endeavor by using their personal connections to collect and donate footwear.

On March 18, 2017, Samuel Cooper Choko, a local coach in Liberia, sent pictures that he had received the shipment.  “Many of the local Liberian athletes hold Coach Choko in high regards because of his efforts during and after the Ebola epidemic,” Kutu-Akoi said.

Liberian Sprinter Phobay Kutu-Akoi

Coach Choko continued to coach the runners, throughout the health crisis.  Many runners stated that he gave them a reason to start running again. “To see the athletes happy made my week,” Kutu-Akoi said.

Kutu-Akoi plans on shipping again, but is currently not collecting.  She desires to be an asset in more ways than one.

Liberian Maya Neal who is an Heptathlete has also made a huge contribution to athletes back home in Liberia. Since October 2016, she has conducted two collections and distributions. Neal collected approximately 35-40 pairs of running shoes, track spikes and soccer cleats (separate from additional gear and/or footwear).

Neal’s collection deadlines are sent out periodically over social media, with one occurring this past March.

She intends to ship shoes often, depending on her contact on the ground in Liberia, until she puts into action a more stable organization.  The next shipment date has not been set, but Neal is accepting all sizes in both men and women in order to accommodate as many individuals as possible (new and lightly used).

Along the track you will hear teammates yelling “Don’t drop the stick,” during baton exchanges.  Kutu-Akoi and Neal are not dropping the stick.  We commend these young women for seamlessly passing the baton to assist our future athletes with their goals of one day representing Mama Liberia on the international stage.

Source: The Liberian Olympic Blog

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About Cholo Brooks 16091 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.