Jennifer Boateng from Ghana is breaking new grounds for athletes from the continent of Africa in winter sports. The EMT specialist and fitness instructor from Brooklyn, New York has been in Calgary this week training in monobob, a new bobsled event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Ghana’s first Skeleton Olympian, Akwasi Frimpong recruited Jennifer in Ghana in April 2018. On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Jennifer officially qualified to race in Thursday’s North American Cup monobob race on the historic 1988 Calgary bobsled track.
Her rise as a Ghanaian athlete makes Jennifer the latest example of Africa’s rise in winter sports. During the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Africa had a record-breaking 12 athletes compete. Nigeria was the first African country to compete in the two women bobsled and Akwasi Frimpong was the first black male Skeleton Olympian for Africa.
This Thursday Jennifer will be the first African to ever compete in the monobob which is a single bobsled event where the pilot is the driver and the brakeperson. “It’s an amazing opportunity to represent my country, Ghana and the continent of Africa,” says Boateng. “I couldn’t be more proud. You have to start to be great. To be great in anything in life, it takes dedication, and hard work, but importantly you have to simply start. I’m humbled to get my first start and experience in the sport,” said an excited Jennifer.
“I’m glad I can contribute to the participation of Africans in Winter sport! There are more coming,” says Frimpong, who went on to say that: “We can do anything if we put our minds to it. That is force behind my message of becoming the Hope of a Billion and giving more kids from Africa hope by showing that they are not limited and that they can achieve what we have been told is impossible.”
This week three athletes from Senegal, Gambia and Mexico who were inspired by Akwasi Frimpong’s Olympic participation also started skeleton training in Park City, USA and Igles, Europe.