Kwesé hosts Africa's first Bobsled team and first female Skeleton Athlete ahead of Winter Olympics
Yesterday, Kwesé Nigeria hosted the Nigerian Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and the ladies on the bobsled team, as well as Nigeria's first Skeleton athlete. The ladies flew into Nigeria briefly, ahead of their 2018 Winter Olympics run.
No African country has ever competed in Bobsled at the Winter Olympics... till now.
When Seun Adigun decided to retire after running her last race at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she kept it quiet. Instead of quitting, she got a crazy idea- she could use her speed, power and strength from years of competing in the 100m for something else.
Once she decided on Bobsled, she then had to make a team. She reached out to her former colleagues- Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga and even though they also thought it was a crazy idea, they joined as brakemen.
Now they are achieving many firsts. The first African country to represent the sport of Bobsled, First Nigerian athletes to compete in Bobsled, and first Nigerians at the Winter Olympics, period.
They will not be alone.
Also competing is Simidele Adeagbo who is Nigeria's first female skeletal athlete.
After missing out on qualifying for the 2008 US Olympic trials by 8 inches, she thought her Olympic dreams were over.
When she heard of the Nigerian bobsled team she reached out to them but the team was full. She then opted for skeleton instead and has since then competed in the 5 required qualifying races this season, competing in Alberta (Canada), Utah (U.S.A.) and New York (U.S.A.)
So, who are these ladies proudly representing Africa at Pyeongchang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Akuoma is the brakeman for the squad and works as a healthcare recruiter. The 25year old likes sports, art and playing musical instruments.
On meeting Ellen (the talk show host interviewed them on her daytime show), she says, "It was great. She is just as amazing in person". She also has a message for dreamers, "Keep on pursuing your dream, eventually people will support you".
Ngozi is also the brakeman and was born and raised in Texas. A full-time student, she likes dancing, singing and other outdoor activities.
On what African countries can do to support talented and skilled individuals, she says, "I think it is important to encourage your peers and hop on the bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon; have you ever seen a Nigerian fail?"
Seun is the driver of the team and is a chiropractic student. She is currently studying for a dual degree- a Doctorate from Texas Chiropractic College, and a Master’s degree from the University of Houston.
Her father who flew in with her spoke on how it felt when she told them she was competing in bobsled. "As a parent to an adult, you just advise. She told us what she wanted to do and yes there were concerns about their safety but her mother and myself love and completely support her dream".
Simidele is currently a Marketing Manager with Nike Inc. in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is passionate about changing the narrative on women, showing women in sport as strong, smart, vivacious, courageous, beautiful and ambitious.
On pursuing your dreams, she says, "Ask yourself, Why not Me? Why not Now?"
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BOBSLED is a sport in which teams of 2 or 4 make timed runs down a narrow, twisting ice track in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are then combined to calculate the final score.
SKELETON is a winter sliding sport where the athlete rides a small sled known as a skeleton bobsled or bobsleigh, down a frozen track while lying face down (prone).
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