Nigeria is going to its first ever Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018 — thanks to the women’s bobsled team. The three-woman team qualified in Canada, after competing in five races.
Driver Seun Adigun, who competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics for track and field, and her teammates Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, will be heading to South Korea for the February games.
Seun Adigun (Driver) represented Nigeria in 100 meters hurdles at London 2012. She began training for bobsled in 2014
Ngozi Onwumere (Breakmen) won a Silver medal and Gold medal for Nigeria, at the 2015 all Africa Games.
Akuoma Omeoga (Breakmen) will be representing Nigeria for first time in any competition.
The team raised $75,000 to make the idea of competition even possible. The money raised helped buy equipment, sleds, tools, fees, and other gear. Visa later picked up sponsorship of the nigeria Women’s Bobsled Team.
Adigun had said back in the early days of the crowdfunding campaign, “I was inspired to start the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled team in hopes of being the first ever African representative, men or women, to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in the sport of Bobsled.”
She did just that.
It comes as a shock to many fans of the team and athletes individually, that they have been able to accomplish such a feat, considering they are in fact representing a warm climate country and the sport, for lack of better words, is designed for anything but that.
The newly formed Bobsled & Skeleton Federation of Nigeria Instagram account is filled excited poses and exclamatory posts.
Supporters of the team were pumped as well. There were plenty of references to the 1993 film Cool Runnings, which was about the debut of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team in 1988.
Although the Nigerian bobsled team have achieved the qualifying standard, there is still work to be done. Countries hoping to race in Pyeongchang must be in the top 40 of the global rankings on Jan. 14 after seven World Cup races.
“It is not possible for any team to qualify for the Olympic Games this early,” Nicola Minichiello, the North American Cup co-ordinator for International Bobsleigh Skeleton Federation (IBSF), told Reuters in an email. “If we base their results on last year’s rankings the team [is] likely to qualify, however this will not be confirmed until much closer to the time.”