Alumna in driver seat for first Nigerian Olympic bobsled team


Obi Grant

Team Pride: Nigeria driver Seun Adigun (middle) and brakemen Akuoma Omeoga (left) and Ngozi Onwumere (right) in their team uniforms.The teams uses a wooden sled, the “Maeflower,” which Seun built herself and named after her late sister.

Adekemi Kasali, News Writer

Imagine going from running on the track team here at H-F to competing in bobsled at the Winter Olympics. Now imagine becoming part of the first African team, male or female, to qualify for the sport.

This is a reality for 31-year-old  alumna Seun Adigun, now a two-time Olympian, who’ll be driving Nigeria into Olympic history. She and teammates Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere will be compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics this month in Pyeongchang, South Korea in bobsledding.

Seun started the Nigerian bobsled team after her experience competing on the USA team from 2015-2016.

“It was on that team that I learned that the sport was trying to grow, and Nigeria had never had any Winter Olympians. Also, that bobsled has never been represented by any country in Africa,” Seun said. “That was when I decided that my participation in the sport had grown to be much larger than myself, and I wanted to give that back to everyone.”

Seun graduated  in 2005 and was a part of the track and basketball team. Before competing in bobsled, she ran for Nigeria in track and field at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

“It was pretty cool and kind of surreal. There were a lot of moments that I was having out of body experiences,” Seun said. “I couldn’t believe I was there in one sense, and in another sense I was in the best shape of my life and in the best mental state I’ve ever been in as a track athlete.”

Seun said that the overall experience in 2012 was great, but she did have an unfortunate setback.

She had a stress fracture in her leg throughout the Olympics.

“I was mentally ready to conquer the world, but physically I had a little bit of a setback,” she said.

This didn’t stop her though, as she was motivated to continue with her athletic career.

Her mother Siki Adigun said as a child, Seun was very determined and strong, and she’s proud of the fact that her daughter is empowering young girls.

“I feel proud of her achievements… ‘Impossible is nothing’ is one of the quotes from her,” Siki said.

Siki also said she is very proud of the fact that Seun is heading to her second Olympics.

“I’m very blessed. The first one was very sweet, and I was very happy but I think this one [Olympics] will be even better than the first one,” Siki said.

Seun was a talented track and field athlete in high school, and her success helped prepare her for competing at such a high level. Her former coach Rob Assise called her success “incredible.”

“Normally, within a track and field career the amount it can continue beyond college is pretty small,” Assise said. “I would imagine by now since it’s been 13 or 14 years since she graduated high school that she’d be done competing athletically. It’s just even more incredible that she’s still doing something at an extremely high level.”

Assise also said he had an amazing time coaching Seun.

“She’s extremely energetic and has a unique ability to inspire other people to do great things. She deserves everything she gets for sure,” Assise said.

In Pyeongchang, Seun hopes that Nigeria’s participation motivates other African countries to be a part of the sport of bobsled.

“I want to get out there and be as competitive as possible and finish in a very respectable place for Nigeria, Africa, and everyone who feels like they are being represented by my participation,” Seun said.

Seun recently earned her Doctorate of Chiropractic in December 2017.

You can watch the Nigerian Bobsled team compete at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which starts on Feb. 9.