President of Nigeria Bobsled Federation, Chief Solomon Ogba, believes the team will be the focus of many sports fans across the globe at the fast approaching 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
A group of three Nigerian former sprinters, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga qualified for the Winter Olympics earlier in the year, the first by an African team. The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will run from February 9 to 25, 2018.
Ogba, the immediate past president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), is optimistic the team has what it takes to surprise the world when hostilities begin in February.
Bobsleighing is a winter sport in which teams of two to four competitors make timed runs down a narrow, twisted, banked, iced track in a gravity-powered sled, competing to reach the finish line.
The 2018 Winter Games will be spectacular for Nigerians because no African team had ever qualified for this sport.
“What will make our appearance interesting is the fact that Nigeria is not a winter country but we have been able to produce a bobsled team,” Ogba told The Guardian.
The trio of Adigun, Onwumere and Omeoga started their journey on the snow-less grounds of Houston, Texas, in a wooden sled nicknamed ‘The Maeflower.’ They set up a Crowd funding account to raise funds to help them make their goal a reality. Upon discovering the funding page, Visa, a global payment company was inspired by their story and determination to carve out a place in history and decided to help sponsor the team to the Olympics as part of its TeamVisa program. The Nigerian team had to successfully scale through the five races required to qualify for the Games.
Ogba stated that his federation would raise the fund needed to have a successful outing in South Korea with the efforts of some corporate organisations.
Meanwhile, the Account Executive of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Edafe Onoriode has said that Nigeria’s qualification for the 2018 Winter Olympics Games should be celebrated.
“It was a big excitement that these girls registered our footprint at the Winter Olympics Games. We are so elated even though most Nigerians cannot relate to the game.
“They have shown that determination and a set goal is all that is required for dreams to come true. Again, they have made not only Nigerian women proud, but women all over Africa, and the world in general. Their passion for sports have ignited an interest for women who not only enjoy sports, but have chosen to participate as well. The goal for them is not just winning, but also empowering other women to thrive even in the midst of challenges,” Onoriode stated.