Olympian aims to get Eritreans on skis
By Ravi Ubha | CNN
They probably aren’t medal contenders but some athletes wouldn’t be at the Winter Olympics at all in PyeongChang unless they opted represent other countries. It happens at the Summer Olympics, too.
Indeed while the podium spots may be out of reach, they are sure to create a buzz — not to mention history, in some cases — in South Korea.
Here are five.
Shannon-Obgnai Abeda, alpine skiing, Eritrea
Abeda is set to become Eritrea’s first ever winter Olympian. And with that, the 21-year-old is the flag bearer, too.
He was born in northern Alberta, Canada, after his parents fled the Northeast African nation that borders Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti.
Like many kids growing up in Canada, ice hockey was his first love. But his parents weren’t especially keen.
“I wanted to be a hockey player, but they decided against that, and thought skiing was a good activity for me to do,” he told the BBC. “My parents were too concerned about injuries (as) a hockey player.”
He made the point that ski racers also rack up a lot of injuries. The knees are particularly affected, as Abeda knows first hand.
The computer science student almost certainly wouldn’t have qualified for the Olympics if he represented Canada yet he told the CBC he now intends to “put Eritrea on the map.”
“Right now my focus is to go to the Olympics, but afterward I’d like to finish school, do some coaching and get the Eritrean community on some skis,” he said.