PYEONGCHANG: Nigeria’s skeleton athlete, Simidele Adeagbo, reached seventh heaven, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after achieving her feat as first black and African woman to compete at the Winter Olympic Games.
Adeagbo was one of the fans favourite at the Sliding Venue and relished the support after her first run on the final day which earned her a personal best of 53:73 seconds.
“I had a personal best. I might have come in last, but I think I have made such a big step for the sport, for my country, for Africa, for the global sports movement, that I’m just beaming. My heart is full.
“I felt the support from the top to the bottom. When I was sliding, I heard people cheering me along the way. I feel so blessed to have the support from everybody around the world,” she stated.
Adeagbo’s time of 3:36:78, after four heats, put her in 20th position, 2.82 seconds behind her closest rival, and 9.50 seconds behind the gold medal position.
However, she posted some of the best start time in the four heats and her 5:06 seconds in the first heat was the third best start-time overall.
The history making Nigerian, who had only four months experience in the sport hopes that her journey has inspired other young Nigerians to aim for and achieve greatness.
“I was inspired by our bobsled team and that’s what got me going on this journey.
It is about inspiring other people, not only in Nigeria but in Africa and around the world and I hope that people look at me and think of greatness and know they can start from somewhere and progress to
wherever they want to go,” she said.
Interestingly, the significance of Simidele’s achievement was made even more evident when IOC President, Thomas Bach, congratulated her after the final run.
“We need to continue this momentum and keep it going. I am the first, but cannot be the last,” she added.
Having completed her task in Pyeongchang, she will move from an athlete and competitor to a spectator and supporter when her compatriots, Seun Adigun and Omeoga Akuoma, make their historic debut
Adigun and Akuoma will become the first Africans (men or women) to compete in Bobsled event at the Winter Olympics, on February 20 and 21.
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