African nations face Beijing Olympics skeleton shutout, coaches say

Paris (AFP) – The international Olympic Committee said Thursday it was studying a plea from the coaches of a Ghanaian skeleton racer that African competitors be included in the sliding events at the Beijing Olympics.


The coaches of Ghanaian skeleton competitor Akwasi Frimpong fear the sports will suffer a huge setback if qualification spots 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 when they became Africa's first skeleton racers to compete at the Winter Olympics.

They qualified for the Games thanks to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation's continental quota system, but that was dropped after Pyeongchang and Africa faces having no representatives in bobsleigh and skeleton.

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 "integral to the future growth of Olympic sliding sports in Africa".

"We are requesting the reinstatement of the Olympic continental quota spots for Africa in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games," McDonald and Lund wrote in the letter, which was published by the Inside the Games website.

"The importance of African representation in Winter Olympic sport is of utmost importance to the Olympic movement," they continued.

"Currently, the 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 backward in terms of the inclusion of African nations successfully competing in the Winter Olympic Games."

An IOC spokesman said: "The IOC has received the letter and an answer is being prepared."