Nigeria's Simi Adeabgo becomes first African to win international sled race

Nigeria Winter Olympian Simidele Adeagbo is attempting to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in the Monobob, a new women's only event. Girts Kheris

So unexpected was Simidele Adeagbo's victory in the women's monobob at the Europe Cup in Germany last week that Nigeria's first-ever Winter Olympian had to make use of her own flag at the podium presentation.

Adeagbo made history in 2018 when she took part in the Skeleton competition at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, becoming not only the first Nigerian to compete at the Winter Olympics but also the first African to compete in that event.

Adeagbo made further history this weekend when she became the first African, male or female, to win an international sled race, after topping the podium in Winterberg (Ghana's Akwasi Frimpong was the first African to win a skeleton race, but at a regional event in the USA in 2020).

Adeagbo wrote on her Instagram: "With personal best down, and push start times, I raced for an unprecedented feat and earned a decisive victory.

"In a predominantly Eurocentric, male dominated sport, some didn't expect to see an African woman atop the podium. In fact, there wasn't even a Nigerian flag and anthem on hand for the awards ceremony (luckily I had my own flag☺️).

"No matter how unexpected my victory may have been for some, it was a shining moment in which my dream became a reality."

The University of Kentucky alum has been working towards qualification for the Beijing Games in February, this time without the IOC's quotas for African nations to help, and has also overcome a serious calf injury in recent weeks.

Adeagbo, who was a triple jumper and made it to US Olympic trials in 2008, is aiming to qualify in the monobob, a new event for women at the Games that sees a single racer take what looks like a mini bobsled down the track.