Three US-based Nigerian athletes are currently making frantic efforts to raise money for training and equipment as they continue to prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The trio comprising of Seun Adigun who was a former US bobsled break-woman and also ran track and field for the county at the 2012 Olympics; Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga are also members of the first Nigerian women's bobsled team billed to participate at the global winter games scheduled for February 9-25, 2018.
Man, what's bobsleigh?
Bobsled, or bobsleigh, is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled.
The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score. During the race, the speed of the controlled sleigh usually exceeds 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph).
If any uncertainties, watch a bobsled event. The story continues below!
Asked what gave her the courage to dump from track and field to bobsled, Adigun who is the driver for Team Nigeria claimed the famous classic Disney film inspired her.
“I watched it 3 or 4 times when I was a kid,” Adigun told BuzzFeed News.
“But honestly, coming up with this team had very little to do with the actual movie and everything to do with the legacy it created. I won’t lie though, I definitely thought about driving with a ‘lucky egg'."
Why have the girls chosen bobsled?
Adigun claimed to have brought about the idea to form a team that will participate in bobsledding.
She was born in the US but has represented Nigeria in international competitions since 2009, winning a gold at the All-Africa Games and Africa Championships, and even racing in the 2012 Olympics.
Dallas-born Onwumere joined the party when she met with Adigun at the University of Houston back in 2009 as team mates, but the former was an assistant coach.
Omeoga who moved to Houston mid-2016 later joined the team.
What are their efforts in raising money?
The team which needs about $150,000 for training and equipment has opened a GoFundMe account for the general public to assist in raising funds.
“From the beginning we realized that we could not take on this journey without the support of others,” Omeoga, a former track and field star with the University of Minnesota, said.
“Crowdfunding is not only a good way to raise money, but most importantly to create awareness about the sport.”
Efforts of the federal government
Omeoga disclosed that top officials of the Nigeria Olympic Committee are doing their best to assist.
“The first vice president Solomon Ogba has played a very important role in helping us get set up and acquiring the full support of the remaining NOC executive members,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“We are actually very blessed at Nigeria’s initiative as a unit in supporting something that has never been done before.”
Recall that barely days before the opening day of Rio 2016 Olympics, Nigerian athlete Regina George turned to ‘GoFundMe’ – a fundraising website, to raise funds to enable her participation at the summer Games.
But how committed are these girls?
Adigun explained that there are races before the commencement of the Winter Olympics which they will use as a yardstick to measure their level of preparedness for the competition.
“There are still races left this season and several next season leading up to the actual Olympic Games,” Adigun said.
“I will be able to utilize many of these opportunities to qualify, so my timeline to South Korea is still very realistic.“
“This goes far beyond South Korea — this team is being designed to empower more Nigerian and African teams to increase their involvement in the sport of bobsled,” Adigun said.
“No matter how the cookie crumbles, it will be a win-win for everyone.”
Click HERE to donate for the Nigeria Women's Bobsled Team.
Maybe, instead of investing in MMM Nigerians can try investing in sports?!