By: Onifade Bello
Three decades after the Jamaican bobsled team wowed the global community; three Nigerian women have stood to make history on their own in the same event.
The three women, Ngozi Onwumere, Driver Seun Adigun and brakewoman Akuoma Omeoga have qualified for Pyeongchang 2018;putting the African nation ahead to represent the continent at the Winter Olympics for the first time ever.
After completing all five qualifying races, the Nigerian women’s bobsled team is at the height to going to South Korea February next year. Despite stories of victory in the summer Games, for instance, the gold in the men’s football at Atlanta 1996, which brought the likes of Kanu Nwankwo and Ike Sorounmuto limelight, no Nigerian has ever competed in a Winter Olympic Games before.
One of the women, Adigun, whose dream was to become the first woman in the NBA, enjoyed spectacular success in the 100m hurdles, winning the national championships on multiple occasions and had represented Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In an apparent state of joy, the Bobsled & Skeleton Sports Federation of Nigeria (BSFN) euphorically posted, “to see a mere dream come to reality is a true blessing.””Ecstatic to say the least!” it added.
The BSFN president, Solomon Ogba, also said that “their hard work was inspiring and I hope Nigerians can appreciate what it took for them to achieve this. They are all very successful people in their own right — in sports and out of it, and somehow they are still motivated and still push for more success.
“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,” he added.
Away from the ice, the three Nigerian women have been professional track and field athletes in their time. Now they will be going where no Nigerians have gone before in the Games.
“We are from a continent that would never imagine sliding down ice at 80 or 90 miles per hour,” Adigun told newsmen. “I find the idea of getting people to take to that inspiring in itself,” she concluded.