Athlete Spotlight: Africa’s First black Male Skeleton Athlete
LAGOS, NIGERIA — Olympian Akwasi Frimpong was in Lagos, Nigeria to help both the Bobsled & Skeleton Federation and the National Olympic Committee there with their first bobsled and skeleton coach’s clinic that was also attended by potential athletes.
Seun Adigun, Nigeria’s first Summer, and Winter Olympian also participated in the 2-day event which ran from August 29-31, 2019 at the Lagos National Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium in Surulere, Lagos State.
During the combined sessions, local athletes were tested on their speed and strength before learning how to correctly push a bobsled and skeleton using improvised materials made from wooden sleds on wheels.
There were more than 30 prospects between the ages of 18-30. Frimpong focused on skeleton and Adigun on the bobsled.
Frimpong said on social media he was humbled and honored to receive such an invitation from Seun Adigun and Nigeria and that to him it was a no brainer to not accept the invitation.
He explained to TheAfricanDream.net why he accepted the invite,
“part of my mission as I work towards the 2022 Olympics in Beijing is to become the Hope of a Billion Africans by winning Africa’s first-ever Winter Olympics medal and inspire others to chase their own dreams.”
The Ghanaian Winter Olympian hopes his story will inspire more Africans to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics and beyond. In 2018, the Olympics had record-breaking participation of 12 athletes from Africa:
“I want to see this number double at the 2022 Olympics and feel events like this coach’s clinic and combine can help achieve that by bringing people together to aspire to do the impossible,” said Akwasi to TheAfricanDream.net in a phone interview.
Last week was all about discovering and developing winter athletes from Africa for Frimpong who founded the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Ghana in 2016.
After founding the Ghana Federation he traveled to Ghana and organized the first bobsled and skeleton clinics there.
Over the past 2 years, the local federation members in Ghana have organized several clinics in different regions in Ghana with the help of Frimpong who saw it a great privilege to extend that help to Nigeria.
When asked about some of the challenges involved, Frimpong smiled as he responded with
“I wish money was not an issue but unfortunately funding has always been a challenge for most organizations in the sport of bobsled and skeleton, Ghana and Nigeria being no exception.
I have personally funded all previous clinics with my own money and I loved it, but I don’t have the resources to keep doing this.”
It has become dire for local and governmental support as well as private sector participation to help fund this sport. This is why Frimpong hopes to continue to find help with pushing the movement to discover winter athletes in Ghana and not just among Ghanaians in the diaspora.
Find out more about Akwasi Frimpong on www.Frimpong.com
Written by Oral Ofori
(Africa Publicist for Akwasi Frimpong)
Photo courtesy The Temple Company