The Winter Olympics just kicked off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and African countries are participating. Participants include Nigeria’s bobsleigh team, skeleton athlete Akwasi Frimpong from Ghana and Kenya’s only athlete, Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, the first female Kenyan athlete at the Winter Olympics. Sabrina, the 19 year-old alpine skiier grew up in Austria where she picked up the sport. Simader started skiing at the age of three.
Simader was born in Kenya to a Kenyan mother and Austrian father. The 2018 Winter Olympics isn’t the first competitive event she has participated in. In 2016, she represented Kenya in the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Kenya’s first participation in the winter games was in 1998 in Japan. The country was represented by Philip Kimely Boit. Boit has been a great supporter of Simader and accompanied her to Pyeongchang.
For an event dominated by Asian and European people, the presence of Africans has raised some eyebrows. Simader’s small team doesn’t have as much resources at their disposal like other big teams with a long pedigree. Despite the modest experience and resources, the team is determined to make a mark in the winter Olympics.
Simader has been tagged the snow leopard for her speed. On her Instagram page she announced she had been training in preparation for her first race tomorrow. Simader said, “Incidentally, I always wear my snowleopard racing suit because it is my favorite animal and soon I will also work for the rescue of species such as the snow leopard, which is threatened with extinction by climate change, as part of the UN Environment Program “Mountain Hero”