Three female athletes from Nigeria will be flying the country’s flag for the very first time at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. According to News24, the U.S.-based trio of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga will be representing Nigeria in the bobsledding event at the Games.
The Winter Olympic Games, much like the more popular Summer Olympics, occurs once every four years and features sporting events such as, ice hockey, skiing, curling, and bobsledding, which are all practiced on ice and snow. Consequently, participation in the Winter Olympics has become almost exclusive to athletes from America and Eurasia who enjoy an annual winter season.
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In addition to the need for optimal snow conditions, the cost of procuring the high-tech sporting gear required to compete in the average winter sporting event shuts out many youngsters and potential athletes from Africa who may otherwise have the raw talent to succeed but lack the financial support to pursue their dreams.
Adigun, one of the woman hoping to bring back gold for Nigeria said she hopes the achievements of the bobsled team will inspire many to dream big and popularize the sport in Nigeria and the across the rest of Africa.
“Together, we can demonstrate that nothing is impossible with a little faith, support, and willingness to persevere,” she said.
The bobsled team’s decision to compete in 2018 comes in the wake of a recent push by the Olympic committees of several African countries to expand the number of sporting events their athletes compete in.
While a number of African countries excel and even dominate in some Olympic events, it has become apparent that many nations can only hope to improve their overall medal haul at the Games if they groom athletes to participate in water sports such as swimming, and floor events such as gymnastics, that have a high medal turn over.
The Nigerian bobsledding trio have launched a GoFundMe page to raise the $150,000 they need for training, equipment, logistics, and to create awareness around the historical feat they are set to accomplish. With their participation, Nigeria joins an exclusive list of African nations, including Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe that have participated in the Winter Olympics.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held from February 9th to the 25th.