U.S.-based Nigerian ladies; Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere have qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This will be the first time that an African team will participate in the bobsled.
Team leader and bobsled driver, Adigun said, “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria,” she told ESPN. “Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”
NIGERIA DOESN’T DO WINTER SPORTS
Nigerian sports authorities had no provisions for winter sports. They had no national team or federation until these ladies decided to compete. Due to this lack of resources, the team had to resort to crowdfunding to pay for efforts. Last winter, they set up a GoFundMe campaign and met their $75,000 target. Their successful campaign attracted more attention and sponsorship from global brands Under Armour and Visa. Below is Visa’s video ad showcasing their sponsorship of the Nigerian Ladies’ bobsled team and their upcoming competition in the 2018 Winter Olympics Games;
Nigeria will make a Winter Olympics debut after Visa picked up sponsorship of the Women’s Bobsled Team to Pyeongchang 2018.
Pilot Seun Adigun, and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere & Akuoma Omeoga have become a part of Team Visa who “recognized their collective spirit” as a brand fit. pic.twitter.com/eKp8sYOPOH
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) November 15, 2017
AFRICA & THE WINTER OLYMPICS
Though the Nigeria Ladies Bobsled Team is a first for Nigeria, there have been other African athletes who have participated in the Winter Olympics, over the years. In 1984, Lamine Gueye, a Senegalese skier, was the first black African participant in the event. In 2002, Isaac Menyoli had to start a national skiing federation before making Cameroon’s only appearance at the winter games. However, In cases where federations already existed, athletes often had to bootstrap their participation.
We wish the best of luck to driver/pilot Seun Adigun, brakewoman Ngozi Omeoga, and Akuoma Onwumere! If they win the gold, we bet that winter sports will become a fan favorite in Nigeria!