Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 has officially begun. The games are going to run from the 4th to 20th of February amid night restrictions caused by Covid-19.
There are 91 participating countries of which 5 are African. These are Madagascar, Ghana, Nigeria, Morocco and Eritrea with a total of six athletes.
1.Mialitiana Clerc – Madagascar
She is the only African woman participating. Mialitiana will be taking part in Alpine Skiing. The 20 year-old was adopted at the age of one by a French family but remained in contact with her biological parents. She started skiing at the age 3.
“I feel lucky because there are not many African women in the world of skiing. I try to enjoy and to be proud of myself and get the best results because I’m here for that.”
2.Mathieu Neumuller- Madagascar
Mathieu was the flag bearer for Madagascar at the official opening in Beijing. The athlete is coached by his father.
“The Olympic games are a stage in skiing that is exceptional and the thought of it makes my heart beat very fast. A little stress but a lot of joy. In Beijing I am first of all aiming to exceed my current performance and have a good ranking among the best. What would be exceptional is reaching top 30.”
3.Samuel Ikpefan- Nigeria
Samuel is a 29 year-old from French Alps. The born skier opted tp represent Nigeria after his dream to represent France became impossible in 2011. He almost quit and in 2018 he was cleared to compete for his father’s country Nigeria.
“I am proud to have the chance to represent an African country at the Olympics games.”
4.Shannon Abeda- Eritrea
He is the first Eritrean winter Olympian. Shannon started skiing at the age of 3. He wanted to be in ice hockey but his parents said it was too dangerous. Shannon grew up in Canada after his parents escaped war in Eritrea in 1980.
“When I was 7-8 years old, I drew a picture of myself standing on the podium of Olympics. As a child you make dreams and you talk about them. I never expected myself to be here.”
5.Yassine Aouich- Morocco
“I promised my son that I could qualify for the Olympics, so I have to do it. I was able to train at home because there is sometimes snow in the mountains of Morcco.”
Carlos started skiing at the age of 3. The 43 year-old was adopted by a Swiss family. He said that he was better at football but skiing was always a part of him.
“Since my mother was alone and could not feed me, she had to give me up for adoption. I was adopted by a Swiss family and grew up in the heart of Switzerland. Thanks to my Swiss parents who maintained contact with my mother, I have stayed in touch with Ghanaian culture all my life. I travel as much as possible to Cape Coast to visit my big family there….It was a long and hard road. It’s something very special as an African representing an African country on the winter sports.”