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Wayne Lumbasi

Six athletes from five African countries (Eritrea 🇪🇷, Ghana 🇬🇭, Nigeria 🇳🇬, Madagascar 🇲🇬 and Morocco 🇲🇦) are now competing in alpine skiing and cross-country skiing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Showcasing their enthusiasm, talent and courage on the grand stage of Beijing Winter Olympics, African athletes not only pursue the Olympic spirit of “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, but also inspire more Africans to strive “Together” for better future.

Mialitiana Clerc, Madagascar’s first female Olympic skier, has designed her own uniform for the Beijing Olympics to inspire all Africans. She is the first female athlete to represent Madagascar in the Winter Olympics.

Clerc learned to ski in France. In 2018, she finished 47th in women’s slalom and 48th in women’s giant slalom in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, South Korea. 

Mialitiana Clerc /Courtesy/

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda, 25, is the sole representative of Eritrea at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada to Eritrean parents Walday Abeda and Ariam Abeda, Shannon-Ogbnai started skiing in 1999.

A citizen of Eritrea, Canada and the United States, Shannon-Ogbnai represented Eritrea at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria in 2012. Shannon-Ogbnai will compete in men’s giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He qualified for the competition on December 21, 2021.

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda /Courtesy/

Yassine Aouich becomes the eighth competitor from Morocco to participate at the Winter Olympics. He was raised in Ifrane which is in the Atlas Mountains where conditions favour snow-oriented sports.

Morocco in fact has several ski resorts and many youngsters have become excellent skiers.Aouich achieved a major ambition when he qualified to compete in the 2020-2021 World championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo and an FIS race in Kolasin, Montenegro.

Yassine Aouich /Courtesy/

Ghanaian Carlos Maeder becomes the third Ghanaian to participate in the Winter Olympic Games following in the snow-tracks of Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, the ‘snow leopard’ who competed at Vancouver 2010 and Akwasi Frimpong in 2018 in South Korea.

The 43 year old born in Cape Coast, Ghana is probably the oldest competitor of these Games. Like many other Africans who have taken up winter sports, he was adopted and raised in Europe.

He is not at the Games to solely enjoy the ride, though, as he told SRF.

“I take the Olympics very seriously. Otherwise, I wouldn’t invest so much, travel around and do without a lot. It’s something very, very special as an African representing an African country in the winter sports,” he declared.

Carlos Maeder /Courtesy/

Teenager Neumuller was born and raised in France, and will become Madagascar’s second male Winter Olympian after Mathieu Razanakolona, who made the country’s Games debut in 2006.

Neumuller, who is studying to become a ski instructor, made his senior debut in 2020, is Madagascar’s flag bearer in Beijing.

Teenager Neumuller /Courtesy/

Samuel Ikpefan was born and raised in Annemasse in the French Alps. He showed early promise in speed skiing, winning sprint events and nursing ambitions of becoming a top national performer. He wanted to represent his father’s country, Nigeria in international events and as his abilities grew in skiing, he felt confident that he could do well in global competitions.

Samuel Ikpefan /Courtesy/
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Wayne Lumbasi

BEIJING, CHINA – NOVEMBER 05: A lantern containing the Olympic flame for Beijing 2022 Winter Games is on display at Beijing Olympic Tower on November 5, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images)