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Nigeria make bobsled debut on lightning-quick track

Seun Adigun and Akuoma Omeoga of Nigeria slide during the Women's Bobsleigh heats at the Olympic Sliding Centre. Al Bello/Getty Images

One of the most absorbing and highly-anticipated tales of the PyeongChang Winter Games finally came to the fore on Tuesday as the Nigeria women's bobsled team took to the track in heats one and two, to become Africa's first Olympic bobsledders.

Driver Seun Adigun and partner Akuoma Omeoga were the second pair to whip down the track in heat one, recording a time of 52.21s. Their second heat, where they went down first, was a bit slower at 52.55s, leaving them in 20th and thus last place going into Wednesday's two runs.

The track ran incredibly quickly, with team after team smashing the initial track record. It started the day at 51.71s, but was on 50.52s by the end of the evening, held by Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs of the USA. Only Nigeria did not breach the original mark.

The women are only the second Nigerian participants at a Winter Games, following skeleton driver Simidele Adeagbo's debut for the country this past weekend, where she performed commendably for someone only six months into the sport.

Elsewhere on the track, Jamaica also made their national debut in this event, for women anyway, following on from their famous male counterparts who raced in the 1988 Games in Calgary, and later became the fictionalised subjects of the controversial film Cool Runnings.

The Jamaican pair of Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell recorded runs of 51.29s and 51.50s, after enduring a difficult build-up to their event in the wake of their coach quitting just days before the start. Still, they would have been disappointed to finish in the bottom three, given their impressive runs in practice.

And in yet more bobsledding intrigue, Great Britain's pair of Mica McNeill and Mica Moore laid down times of 50.77s and 50.95, putting them in sixth place heading into heats three and four, after also finding their preparations disrupted.

The duo, who raced with 'powered by the people' on the side of their sled, where forced to crowd fund the thousands of dollars needed to make it to the Games after their governing body, British Bobsleigh, slashed their funding just six months ago to focus on the men's four-man team.

As it was, the top eight places in the second heat were decided by just two 10ths of a second, ensuring an absorbing contest in the final two heats on Wednesday.