After achieving the seemingly unimaginable feat of qualifying for the forthcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the Nigerian Women Bobsled and Skeleton team are hoping to go a step further by winning a medal at the competition.
Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga and Seun Adigun will represent Nigeria in the country’s first-ever appearance in the sport at the 2018 Winter Olympic which will hold from February 9 to 25.
Simi Adeagbo, who is the first African female Skeleton competitor, will also represent Nigeria at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Ahead of their departure for South Korea, the quartet thanked their sponsors for their immense support for the team while adding that they would still want the whole country and indeed the continent behind them as they compete for medals
“We are blessed to be here representing Nigeria and Africa. For me it’s an honour, it is so humbling. We are also grateful for the investments from our sponsors TravelStart Nigeria and KLM for helping create the platform,” Adigun, the Nigerian bobsled team captain told PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos.
“We assure you that we have not come this far to give up but to make history. We want to make something special in Korea.
“The fact that we are pioneers in the sport in Nigeria makes it more delightful and the fact that we are already having a positive impact in the world is something that will spur us not only to participate at the games but also to compete for medals.”
Adigun who is the driver of Nigeria’s Women’s Bobsled team also recounted how her journey into the sport began.
“I was inspired by the members of the U.S. team and the coaches to do something to help the sport grow and bring more continents to the sport,” she added.
“It was important to try and help Nigeria get its first Winter Olympians, and also represent the continent of Africa in bobsledding.
“It seemed like it had grown to be so much larger than me at that point. It was almost like a calling from God.”
Onwumere, on her part, said: “To be the first to do anything is, I think, it’s just something that you can’t really explain.
“We don’t just want the dream to stop by qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang but making history by winning.”
Omeoga, 26, who ran track at the University of Minnesota, said:” The sponsors flying us to Korea are awesome.
“A medal is almost too much to think of but actually that has never even crossed my mind yet,” she said.
“I’m just taking things one day at a time: Don’t get too ahead of yourself, don’t get too behind yourself, and don’t sell yourself short on anything.”
On his part, the President of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, Solomon Ogba, assured that Nigeria has a very good chance of making it to the podium at the Winter Olympics.
The former Athletics Federation of Nigeria boss said going by how the Nigerian ladies fared in their quest to qualify for the Winter Olympics, there is room for optimism that they will do the country proud in Korea.
Ogba revealed that plans are already being put in place to make sure more Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, embrace the Bobsled and Skeleton sport.
“Already, we have started taking the sport to the schools and the children are showing huge interest, we pray that with the success that we get in this first winter Olympics, many more people will come on board,” Ogba stated
For Philip Akesson, Country Manager of Travelstart Nigeria, the firm facilitating the travel plans for Team Nigeria to the Winter Olympics, they were endeared to the Nigerian women for their unrelenting attitude to reach their goals.
“As Africa’s largest online travel agency, we are excited to use our resources and our partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to get the Nigerian Team to their first Winter Olympics.
“The team’s resilience, passion, go-getter attitude towards achieving their goals are admirable, and is a message that resonates very deeply with our company values,” he said.