Thanks to the bobsled Seun Adigun (left), Ngozi Onwumere (middle) and Akuoma Omeoga, Nigeria will be represented at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea (9-25 February) / Photo:

Nigerian women’s bobsled team writes Winter Olympics history

With average temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius, Nigeria is anything but a suitable country for winter sports. Nevertheless, Nigeria will be represented at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang , South Korea (9-25 February)

It is thanks to the bobsled Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, who met the Olympic standard of five finishes at official bobsled races this winter, making the West African country a sensational qualifier for the Winter Games in South Korea.

Nigeria already has great success at the Summer Olympics; just look at the gold medal of the 4 x 400m Men’s Relay at Sydney 2000, or the Olympic victory of the Super Eagles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic football tournament.

When the participating nations enter the Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang on 9 February for the opening ceremony, a team with the Nigerian flag will attend the Winter Olympics for the first time. Bobpilot Seun Adigun already knows this feeling, as she participated in the 2012 Summer Games in London for 100m hurdles for Nigeria.

Also Onwumere and Omeoga, both resident in the western German city of Bremen, come from the athletics. A few years ago, Adigun built her first training device herself out of wood, after she was asked by athletics colleagues to try out bobsledding.

Adigun (middle), 31, is the founder and leader of the team. Born in Chicago to Nigerian parents, the idea to turn her track career into a bobsled run was still just a dream three years ago. First she had to convince University of Houston classmate Onwumere (right), before the pair brought on University of Minnesota runner Omeoga

It’s not uncommon that former athletes successfully try their luck in bobsledding. The bobsleigh riders of Nigeria also have good sprinting skills, but it will probably not be enough for a medal against their strong, more experienced rivals. Slipper Onwumere recently said in an interview that it’s more about encouraging people in Nigeria to achieve everything they want.

With their successful qualification, the three ladies have already done so and made many compatriots proud. Of course, many reporters drew the comparison to the 1988 Jamaican men’s four-man bobsleigh team in Calgary.

Their qualification was a similarly great sensation back then, since nobody had previously associated the Caribbean island state with bobsledding. The Jamaicans meanwhile belong to the Olympic permanent guests in the ice channel and will participate in this winter for the first time also with a women’s team.

If the Nigerian women manage to leave a team like Jamaica behind, this would be a great success. No matter how it ends, with their participation, the three ladies have already managed to make themselves and Nigeria a name in winter Olympic sports. Let’s start with them on 20 February at 12:50 pm, live on ARD and on Eurosport. More than 2,900 athletes from 92 nations are set to compete in 102 different sporting events at PyeongChang 2018.

Maximilian Lütgens

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