Nigerian bobsled team will be country's first-ever Winter Olympics representatives

Alfred Osborne
November 17, 2017

After forming in 2016, the three-member Nigerian bobsled team qualified to become the first to represent Nigeria in the upcoming 2018 Olympics.

"I have watched them train and work hard to represent Nigeria at the Winter Olympics in a very technical and high risk sport and they have achieved that".

Driver Seun Adigun and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth of their required five qualifying races on Wednesday, becoming the first African team, men or women, to qualify in the Bobsled category.

The qualification of Nigeria - where temperatures are now upwards of 35 degress Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) - has inevitably drawn comparisons with Jamaica's participation in the 1988 Games in Calgary, Canada, which led to the 1993 Hollywood film "Cool Runnings".

"We are from a continent that would never imagine sliding down ice at 80 or 90 miles an hour (130-145 kilometres per hour)". Adigun competed for Nigeria in the 2012 London Games as a hurdler and ran at the University of Houston.

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Given that no African country has ever competed in the Bobsled, they can be pretty sure that they'll be the best ever at that.

"The idea of being able to take to that in itself is empowering".

Without access to proper training equipment or valuable ice time to flawless their skills, the members of the Nigerian Women's Bobsleigh Team started their journey on the snow-less grounds of Houston, Texas, in a wooden sled they nicknamed "The Maeflower". Well, they got some help, first from supporters on GoFundMe and then later from Visa, which signed them this week.

The Winter Olympics begin February 8 with curling and ski jumping competitions before the opening ceremony.

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