Sports and county officials from the political sub-divisions of the country attired in their respective county colors paraded the principal streets of Harper to welcome the ceremony to that coastal city.

At an indoor program held in the Harper City Hall, Harper City Mayor welcomed the decision by the Ministry of Youth & Sports to stage the official opening ceremony of the event in Harper. She said the people of Maryland were honored by the selection and assured representatives of the counties of a memorable, peaceful [and] hospitable environment.

The Minister of State without Portfolio, Ambassador Conmany Wesseh, representing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, extended warm felicitations from the President to all county sports officials, participants and sports enthusiasts. On behalf of President Sirleaf, Ambassador Wesseh expressed regrets for her inability to personally witness the opening ceremony, owing to other pressing state matters.

He however assured participants that the Chief Executive would follow closely the events which he indicated are the heart of government’s policy of reconciliation through sports, “because without it our development agenda will be hampered.”

He also commended officials of the Ministry of Youth & Sports, County officials and sports administrations as well as athletes for gracing the occasion and admonished them to be good sports ambassadors for their respective counties. Minister Wesseh later took the ceremonial kick-off, signaling the official start of the 2012/2013 National Sports Meet.

For his part, Youth & Sports Minister S. TornorlahVarpilah explained that the hosting of the event in Harper was in furtherance of the spirit of unification and integration which was promoted by the late Liberian President William V.S. Tubman, a son of Maryland County.

In his comment, Minister Varpilah commended the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) and other institutions, including Lone Star cell MTN for their sponsorship, saying the collaboration will go a long way in strengthening and enhancing the growth of the National Sports Meet.

Meanwhile, NOCAL is said to be providing two sets of outfits for each participating county team in the five disciplines of the competition in the 2012-2013 National Sports Meet, including football, kickball, basketball, athletics and volleyball.

The company is also said to be providing boots and sneakers for the players, as well as promotional t-shirts for spectators and county officials.  Billboards are also printed and erected in the counties to promote this year’s National Sports meet.

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