"First Time Out" - An Athletics Meet in Sierra Leone

05/18/09

Within four weeks of their own impressive sports meet held at Ngolala, Mallory Jansen Memorial Junior High School in Banta Mokelleh, Sierra Leone was invited by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in collaboration with regional organizers to prove their mettle away from home grounds.

The students would compete among longer established schools in a much bigger and standardized arena at their first inter-secondary schools athletics meet in Banta district.

Fifty-three of the school’s best ventured out of Ngolala for this litmus test of physical ability, racing against six other schools on May 9th, and proved to be a tough force to be reckoned with. “The villagers of Ngolala,” as our kids were called by colleagues on their arrival, surprised the organizers with thrilling performances that placed them in 2nd position after twenty events. By then Mallory Jansen Memorial School (MJMS) had bagged first place certificates in both the Junior and Intermediate categories.

At the end of the day MJMS claimed a fiercely contested 4th position with over 15 certificates in the bag, showers of praise from the organizers and much respect from competitors and spectators alike. “Already recognized as one of the leading schools in terms of academics in the region, we are pressing on toward becoming the best in track and field too”, says Mr. Thollie, the sports coach.

Indeed, with sound minds and sound bodies the place is set by these first timers and the trail is ablaze for better days ahead.