PyeongChang 2018: Team Nigeria Make History

Nigeria’s  Akuoma Omeoga and  Seun Adigun made history on Tuesday  as the  first Africans to  feature  in  bobsleigh  at the Winter Games currently ongoing in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The duo finished in 52.21 seconds  and 52.55 seconds to place  20th  (the bottom of the hill)  in  women’s  heats 1 and 2  at the 2018   Pyeongchang  Winter Games in South Korea.

But the  American-born  athletes  have reason to celebrate as their  timing was an improvement  on the one  from their  training heats on Sunday – 52.96 and 53.60.

In heat 1, United States’ Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs finished in 50.52  seconds to win Tuesday’s race, followed by Germany’s  Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz, who ran 50.54 seconds. United States’ Jamie Poser and Aja Evans  placed third with  50.59 seconds.

Mariana Jamaka and Lisa Buckwitz  won heat 2  with a time of 50.72 seconds  while Elana Taylor and Lauren Gibbs took  second with a time of 50.81 seconds. Canada’s Kallie Humphries and Phylicia George  came third with a time of 50.88 seconds.

Heats 3 and 4  come  up on Wednesday, and Akuoma and  Seun are expected to put up a strong challenge to reach the podium.

“The Olympic experience is really unique, it’s an experience you can’t really articulate,”  Akuoma was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“Nigerians are incredibly proud and I think one of our goal was to present Nigeria in a positive light. It gives people a reason to celebrate something.”

The brakeman  said she was honoured by the frequent comparisons to the film Cool Runnings, which portrayed a fictional account of the Jamaican bobsleigh team’s debut at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

“That’s the legacy that we hope to have in 30 years to come,” she said.

Pilot Seun said,  “I don’t think it’s hit us how impactful this whole process will be in the long run.”

“You don’t have to quantify things by just the result of first place, second place or any time. You can actually quantify it by your ability to be selfless, your ability to drive and your ability to be innovative. This was just meant to be.”

Canada-born US-based Simidele Adeagbo on Friday made history as the first African woman to compete in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics.

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