African nations face Beijing Olympics skeletal shutout, coaches say

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Paris (AFP)- The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it was considering a request from the coaches of a Ghanaian skeleton racer for African competitors to be included in the sliding events at the Beijing Olympics.

The coaches of Ghanaian skeleton competitor Akwasi Frimpong fear the sport could suffer a huge setback if qualification places are not kept open for African nations in skeleton and bobsleigh at next month’s Games.

Frimpong and Nigeria’s Simidele Adeagbo made history at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games by becoming the first skeleton riders from Africa to compete in the Winter Olympics.

They qualified for the Games through the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation’s continental quota system, but that was scrapped after Pyeongchang and Africa struggled with no bobsleigh and skeleton representatives .

Brian McDonald and Zach Lund, US coaches who work with Frimpong, said in the letter to IOC President Thomas Bach that the quota system was “an integral part of the future growth of Olympic board sports in Africa”.

“We call for the reinstatement of the Olympic continental quota places for Africa at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022,” McDonald and Lund wrote in the letter, which was posted by the Inside the Games website.

“The importance of African representation in Winter Olympic sports is of the utmost importance to the Olympic movement,” they continued.

“Currently, Olympic sliding sports will be without any African representation after immensely popular participation in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang.

“We should not allow Olympic sport to take a step back in terms of including African nations successfully competing in the Winter Olympics.”

An IOC spokesperson said: “The IOC has received the letter and a response is in preparation.”


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