Nigeria’s Women’s Bobsled Team Qualifies for 2018 Olympics, Country’s 1st Ever Winter Olympians

Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team (photo via nytimes.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to ESPN, Nigeria will be represented in the Winter Olympics by the African nation’s women’s bobsled team, which qualified for the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Driver Seun Adigun and breakpersons Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga completed the fifth out of the five required qualifying races and became the first African team ever to qualify in the bobsled category.

The squad, led by Adigun, a former African 100-meter hurdles champion and 2012 summer Olympian, completed the qualifying races in Utah and Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday. “This is a huge milestone for sports in Nigeria,” driver Adigun told ESPN. “Nothing makes me prouder than to know that I can play a small role in creating opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria. Our objective now is to be the best representation of Africa that the Winter Olympics have ever witnessed.”

As blavity.com reported, it comes as a shock to many fans of the team and athletes individually, that they have been able to accomplish such a feat, considering they are in fact representing a warm climate country and the sport, for lack of better words, is designed for anything but that. In a recent interview with ABC News, shared to one of the women’s Instagram account, the ladies discuss how they do in fact host the majority of their training in the warm climate.

To read and learn more about this story, go to: http://www.newsweek.com/women-bobsled-team-first-nigeria-qualify-winter-olympics-713962 or http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-17/nigerias-bobsled-team-off-to-winter-olympics/9163162

Gambian Mother Siabatou Sanneh Walks Paris Marathon with 40-lb. Water Container on Head to Bring Awareness to Need for Clean Drinking Water in Africa

Siabatou Sanneh Paris Marathon

Siabatou Sanneh walked the Paris Marathon wearing her traditional dress, flip flops and a 20kg plastic container. (Photo Courtesy of Water for Africa)

In the middle of 54,000 runners at last week’s Paris Marathon, Siabatou Sanneh stood out. Carrying a 40-pound (20kg) water container on her head and wearing her race number 64173 on top of a multi-colored traditional dress, Siabatou wanted to make a statement.

It was the first time the mother of four had ever left her country, Gambia, but this didn’t deter her from wanting to raise awareness about the difficulties African women face in accessing clean drinking water. Siabatou was there on the behalf of Water for Africa, a non-profit which builds boreholes in her village.

“I came to Paris to do the marathon to raise awareness and help the African women get clean water for their domestic use – for drinking, cooking, washing and gardening to grow agriculture,” the 43-year-old told IBTimes UK, speaking through a translator.

“In my country, you grow what you eat and you eat what you grow, but you can only do that with sufficient water.”

By walking the marathon with a plastic barrel of water on her head, Siabatou is hoping to send a message to the leaders at the 7th World Water Forum – which runs until April 17th in Daegu-Gyeongbuk, South Korea. Her statement is simple: she does not want to be drinking water from wells any more.

“I want them to help us dig bore holes, a sustainable water source, but not only more holes, I want more sustainable ones too. That’s all we need. I don’t want my children to be collecting water from dirty wells when they are older,” she said.

In Gambia, Water For Africa estimates between 200 and 300 water pumps would be necessary to supply the population and overcome the 40% to 60% of wells or pumping systems that are crumbling.

Siabatou, who lives in the small village of Bullenghat, which has a population of 300, first started collecting water when she was just five-years-old.  “I wake up in the morning, and go and collect water from a well. I have to walk 8km there, and back. I do this three times a day at least.”

Continue reading

President Obama Welcomes the Jackie Robinson West All Stars to the White House

President Barack Obama welcomes the Jackie Robinson West All Stars to the Oval Office

President Barack Obama welcomes the Jackie Robinson West All Stars to the Oval Office, Nov. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Yesterday the Jackie Robinson West All Stars — the U.S. champions in this year’s Little League World Series — stopped by the White House for a visit with the President and the First Lady.

Hailing mainly from the South Side of Chicago, Jackie Robinson West captured the world’s attention this summer on their extraordinary run through the Little League World Series. Along with being the first Chicago-area team to make it to the Little League World Series in 31 years, Jackie Robinson West also made history as the first all-black team to win the U.S. title.

Before the world championship game against South Korea, the President tweeted that “we’re all so proud” of the team. Even though South Korea won the final game 8-4, Jackie Robinson West had already secured a special place in the hearts of Americans across the country.

The young players’ victorious run held even more meaning, however, for the city that they came from. Chicago has grabbed headlines nationwide for its increased gun violence and high murder rate, and many of the Jackie Robinson West players come from neighborhoods suffering from this violence as well as disproportionate levels of poverty. But the team’s run this summer helped provide a respite from some of the city’s troubles, with the players’ hard work and upstanding example ultimately bringing hope, inspiration, and unity to their community.

article by David Hudson via whitehouse.gov

Jackie Robinson West All-Stars Gave Their All in Little League World Series Championship, Celebrated by Hometown Even in Defeat

Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West All-Stars  (Photo: TWITTER)

The Jackie Robinson West All-Stars are still the pride of Chicago, even after a tough loss to South Korea in the Little League World Series championship game. The Jackie Robinson West team put up a valiant fight, including a late rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, but in the end it was not enough to hold off the mighty bats and dominant pitching performance from the Seoul team, which handed the South Side Chicago sluggers an 8-4 loss.

According to the Associated Press, normal Sunday activities in Chicago were on hold for a few hours while the all-black Jackie Robinson West ballplayers, who “made their first appearance in 31 years in the Little League World Series” and had stolen the nation’s heart on their way to the championship game, took the field.

Several hundred supporters gathered at TV watch stations to root for the team, which, until the final game, had dominated all comers.

AP notes that despite the defeat, several fans gathered at the South Side community center gym and roared and cheered just as if their boys had won.  “They showed what heart they have. The city could not be prouder of them,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told AP.

Jackie Robinson West’s run was a nice break for an area that has been ravished by poverty and violence.

“I have never seen the community come together like this,” Eldridge Dockery, 44, told AP. “We’re usually behind our walls or gates—but this team brought us out, talking and celebrating together.”

According to news station WGN-TV, a parade is planned for the team on Wednesday.

Read more at the Associated Press and WGN-TV.