Worldwide TOP Partner Visa has welcomed to its team three additional athletes who make up the Nigerian Women’s Bobsleigh Team, currently training to become the first-ever African representatives, men or women, to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games in the sport of bobsleigh. Together, bobsleigh pilot Seun Adigun, and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, are combining their elite track and field backgrounds to chase their bobsleigh dreams.
Without access to proper training equipment or valuable ice time to perfect their skills, the members of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsleigh Team started their journey on the snow-less grounds of Houston, Texas, in a wooden sled they nicknamed “The Maeflower”. Once the team set their sights on the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, they established a crowdfunding website hoping to raise the much-needed funds to get to PyeongChang. Upon discovering the page, Visa was inspired by their story and determination to carve out a place in history, and pledged to help solidify the team’s trip to the Olympic Winter Games.
“When we first heard their story, we recognised the collective spirit of these athletes as a perfect fit for Team Visa,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa. “By joining Team Visa, we hope to provide this group of determined athletes with a global stage to tell their story and inspire athletes all over the world to follow their dreams and never give up.”
The Nigerian Women’s Bobsleigh athletes joining Team Visa are:
• Seun Adigun (Nigeria, driver): Adigun represented Nigeria in the 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Wanting to get back on the Olympic stage, she began training for bobsleigh in 2014.
• Ngozi Onwumere (Nigeria, brakeman): Onwumere, a former competitive sprinter, clinched silver and gold medals at the 2015 African Games in Republic of the Congo in the 200m and 4x100m relay, respectively. Onwumere started training after being recruited by Adigun in 2016.
• Akuoma Omeoga (Nigeria, brakeman): Omeoga is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she was a sprinter for the university’s track and field team, competing in the 100m and 200m events. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be the first time she is representing Nigeria.
“Already the support and encouragement we have felt as part of Team Visa have been a dream come true,” said Seun Adigun, driver of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team. “We are proud to be part of a team that shares our mission and has connected us with the resources we needed to reach our goal, and will hopefully empower others to do the same.”
The women of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsleigh Team join Team Visa’s diverse roster of athletes, which includes: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), Chloe Kim (USA), Gus Kenworthy (USA), Hilary Knight (USA), Oksana Masters (USA), Mark McMorris (Canada), Lee Sang-Hwa (South Korea) and Kamil Stoch (Poland).
Since the programme began in 2000, Team Visa has supported over 400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls by providing them with the tools, resources and support they need to reach their highest potential, regardless of origin or background. Team Visa features a diverse group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who embody their core values – acceptance, partnership and innovation – and was cultivated with the global reach of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in mind.
Visa International has been a Worldwide Olympic Partner since 1986, when the company joined the TOP Programme as a founding member.
For additional information on Team Visa, follow along at @VisaNews on Twitter and visit www.visa.com.