Featured image by Accra2023

Correction: March 8 @ 5:32p EST — This story was updated to show that the Liberian table tennis player forfeited to Ghana, she did not forfeit to Uganda.

This year, Liberia is scheduled to take part in the 13th African Games hosted in Accra, Ghana, from 3 March to 23 March.

The African Games is one of Africa’s largest and widest-ranging sporting events. Athletes from across the continent compete in various disciplines, ranging from chess and scrabble to athletics and wrestling. This year’s Games has been named Accra2023, and here’s what you need to know.

What is the African Games?

Originally called the All-African Games, The African Games first took place in 1965 after an assembly of African ministers of youth and sports met to discuss sports development on the continent. That group eventually led to the creation of the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) — the main governing body of the African Games.

Every four years, the African Games is held one year before the Summer Olympics. However, this year’s postponed Games has created a unique situation where the African Games lands in the same year as the Olympics.

The participants of the African Games

In true pan-African fashion, all of Africa is invited to compete. The first-ever African Games started with 30 countries competing in 10 sports: athletics, basketball, football, tennis, weightlifting, cycling, swimming, handball, volleyball, and wrestling.

Accra2023 has all 54 African countries listed on its website, but it’s unclear if every nation will attend.

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List of sports at Accra2023

Accra 2023 has 30 sports listed at this year’s Games. These sports have been separated into three categories: Olympic qualifiers, non-Olympic qualifiers, and demonstration sports.

Athletes competing in Olympic qualifier events have the potential to get on the pathway to the Paris2024 Olympics.

  • Wrestling
  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Badminton
  • Triathlon
  • Table Tennis
  • Cycling
  • Athletics

The athletes who are participating in non-Olympic qualifiers are seeking international titles for their country.

  • Weightlifting
  • Taekwondo
  • Karate-do
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Chess
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Arm Wrestling
  • Volleyball
  • Rugby
  • Judo
  • Handball
  • Cricket
  • Boxing
  • Basketball (3×3)

The demonstration sports category  features competitive sports that have less popularity on the continent.

  • Teqball
  • Scrabble
  • Pickleball
  • E-Sports
  • Speedball
  • Sambo
  • Mixed Martial Arts

Past winners

According to the Accra2023 all-time medal board, these 10 African countries lead the winner’s list:

  1. Egypt: attended 12 games; won 639 golds
  2. Nigeria: attended 12 games; won 470 golds
  3. South Africa; attended 7 games; won 397 golds
  4. Algeria: attended 12 games; won 313 golds
  5. Tunisia: attended 12 games; won 260 golds
  6. Kenya: attended 12 games; 134 golds
  7. Senegal: attended 12 games; won 65 golds
  8. Ethiopia: attended 12 games; won 45 golds
  9. Cameroon: attended 12 games; won 41 golds
  10. Morocco: attended 4 games; won 39 golds

Liberia at the African Games

Liberia has participated in many African Games and even medaled. In 2011, Liberian decathlete Jangy Addy won the country its first African Games gold medal. Additionally, Liberian hurdler Kou Luogon won Liberia the women’s 400m hurdles 2011 African Games bronze medal.

In 2019, Liberia took three weightlifters to the African Games hosted in Rabat, Morocco, but did not place. Unfortunately the country had to pull out of the 11th Games hosted in Brazzaville, Congo, due to financial constraints.

The Liberian chef de mission for this year’s African Games is Malcolm W. Joseph.

Joseph told Go Team Liberia that 21 athletes will represent the country in Ghana. These athletes will compete across table tennis, athletics, boxing, and taekwondo. Liberia’s first competitor Loretta Davis forfeited her match in round one of the women’s single table tennis tournament to Ghanaian player Bernice Borquaye.

Though table tennis and other sports competitions have begun, the official Opening Ceremony for the 13th African Games will take place on Friday March 8. The AUSC will broadcast the ceremony live on YouTube.