Nigeria’s contingent to this year’s Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will need the sum of $120,000 (about N43 million) to compete for medals, the president of the Nigerian Bobsled Federation, Chief Solomon Ogba has said.
This year’s Winter Olympics will hold between February 9-25, and Nigerian women’s bobsleigh team will be making history as the first African sled to compete at the Games.
Former sprinter, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga qualified for the bobsled event last year, while Simidele Adeagbo also made the team in the women’s skeleton.
The trio of Adigun, Onwumere and Omeoga were once track and field athletes before switching to bobsled, a winter sports. Adigun actually represented Nigeria in the 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympics.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Ogba, who is the immediate past president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) said that the money would be used to take care of financial needs of the athletes, adding that the federal government, through the sports ministry had promised to assist them.
Ogba hinted that the team just finished its last phrase of camping at Lake Placid, New York, and that the athletes are expected to hit Lagos ending of this month for an elaborate send forth before their final departure to Pyeongchang.
Adigun will pilot the Nigerian sled in South Korea with either Onwumere or Omeoga to be selected as brakewoman.
The fourth competitor, Adeagbo, 36, only took up skeleton four months ago. She finished third in her two races at the North American Cup in Lake Placid, New York to pick her qualification ticket for the Games.
The Canadian-born slider – a former triple and long jumper – first expressed an interest in bobsleigh but was encouraged to try skeleton instead.
Africa was first represented at the Winter Olympics at Sarajevo 1984 by Senegalese alpine skier, Lamine Gueye.
At Sochi 2014, Togo and Zimbabwe were the only nations from the continent to send athletes to the Winter Olympics.
A Ghanaian athlete had also represented Africa at the winter Games