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Unusual Nigeria’s Bobsleigh Women Team MakesHistory, Savor Olympic Moment


The Oasis Reporters

February 22, 2018






Nigeria’s women’s bobsleigh team finished with the wooden spoon Wednesday but left with their heads held high after an emotional Olympic debut in the crackpot winter pursuit.

The plucky West Africans finished 20th in Pyeongchang, more than seven seconds behind gold medallists Germany in a sport where success and failure is measured in hundredths of a second.

But try telling that to Nigerian driver Seun Adigun and partner Ngozi Onwumere after a landmark appearance, cheered on by their families and a vocal pocket of Nigerian fans.

“It’s quite amazing, I’m overwhelmed with joy and overwhelmed with the idea of knowing that history was made and we gave everything we had to do it,” said Adigun, after bumping off several walls in a ragged final run.

“This was just one of those days that you can’t really describe,” she added. “Full of all kinds of emotions — full of relief, full of history.”

No African nation has won a winter medal but the Nigeria women plan to try again at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“By God’s grace you will see Nigeria in Beijing,” said the Texas-based Adigun, after failing to improve on Tuesday’s personal best.

“We did everything we could. People are super-stoked back in Nigeria. We just pray all of our resilience does foster into some future athletes.”

Onwumere, who was a late replacement after Akuoma Omeoga fell ill overnight, added: “I can only express myself with tears, just because it’s been a long road and finally we’ve completed it. I can only imagine how it is back home in Nigeria.”

The Germans won gold after Mariama Jamanka steered her partner Lisa Buckwitz their country’s first success in the event since 2006.

There was a gulf in class between Nigeria and Jamaica and the top three of Germany, the United States and Canada. But it mattered little to the tailenders.

Thirty years after the Jamaican men’s bobsleigh team took the world by storm at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, it was the turn of a hardy trio of women from the tiny Caribbean island to launch themselves down an icy chute at breakneck speeds.

“Cool Runnings” the re-run ended Wednesday with Jamaica finishing 19th as they became the first women from their country to compete at the Winter Olympics.


But who said Nigerian women cannot do the “impossible”?

It all started on Friday (9th February) at 12 noon (Nigeria time) up to 1billion people around the world watched the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. A record number of African athletes are competing and for 16 days, it shall be fun and laughter, the joy of winning, the thrill of participating and the pain of losing, all rolled into one.

Eight African countries sent 13 athletes to compete. While that may not sound like very many, it’s more than ever before! There are Olympic athletes from Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and Togo.

So far probably the story that has caught everyone’s imagination the most is the participation of a team of three women from Nigeria (former track and field stars) who have already made history by qualifying to compete for their country in a sport called Bobsleigh (aka Bobsled). They and another female athlete in a sport called Skeleton comprise Nigeria’s first-ever Winter Olympic team, where it’s (almost) never snowed!

About three years ago, Nigeria’s Bobsleigh team were great athletes but had actually never been in a Bobsleigh before, nor had they spent almost any time in snow… Nor did they own a Bobsleigh or any other equipment!

Friends and family helped at first, then they crowdsourced funds online, and finally found a few global brands to support them! Well, talk about having good partners!

Bobsleigh is like motor racing on ice, at speeds that can get up to 200 km per hour… but in a small sleek metal sled, all powered by gravity (and the strength and agility of the driver and her team).

These are young Africans breaking barriers in things they were not previously exposed to.
This means they are not afraid to try something new, or afraid of being embarrassed or ridiculed. The Nigerian bobsleigh team appeared on some talk shows recently, including the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and have admitted to the world that it can be “terrifying” to race in that bobsleigh…

But they didn’t let fear get in their way! And look where they are today. It’s all about making history once one’s mind is set on it.

“The biggest thing is time management,” said Nigeria’s bobsleigh team leader and driver, Seun Adigun, one of few athletes who have ever qualified to compete in both summer and winter Olympic games. (She was a 100m hurdler for the Nigeria team in the London 2012 Summer Olympics).

“You just plan it and you execute it in a manner that makes sense and is organized. And you’ll see the results, you’ll see the successes at the end. But time management is the number one key to being able to execute any and everything you need to do in life, especially when you have really big goals.”


Credits :

Kwese Sports
Strive Masiyiwa

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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