Friday, 9 February 2018

Buhari sends goodwill message to Team Nigeria as Winter Olympics kicks off in Pyeongchang, South Korea

Nigeria's flag bearer Ngozi Onwumere leads her delegation as they parade during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on Friday.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his well wishes to Team Nigeria as they represent the country in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The President applauded the women’s bobsled team made up of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga. Who made history by being the first African bobsleigh team to participate in the Winter Olympics in that category.

He also saluted Nigerian Olympian, Simidele Adeagbo who has raised the bar as the first African female to compete in Skeleton at the Games.

Buhari assured the athletes that Nigeria stands with them throughout the competition.

Here are some excerpts from the statement “President Buhari believes that the patriotism, sacrifice, hard work and personal dedication of these Nigerian athletes, who chose to stand with our homeland and lift our flag high at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in South Korea, will continue to inspire Nigerians, especially our young people.

“The President, who had earlier approved the appointment of Chef de Mission to take care of the team, assures the Olympians of the unflinching support of the Federal Government and thanks all who made their participation in the games possible, particularly Corporate Nigeria.

“The President wishes Team Nigeria, who clearly represents the resilient spirit of the Nigerian -ever ready to endure and prevail- a resounding success at the Winter Olympics.”

Meanwhile, the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony got under way in freezing temperatures and a spirit of rapprochement on Friday after the arrival of the highest level North Korean delegation ever seen in the South.

Fireworks lit up the sky over the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, where North Korea’s all-female cheering squad were among the crowd, as the gala event started.

Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was among the VIPs expected to attend after she became the first member of the ruling Kim dynasty to venture South since the Korean War.

South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, US Vice-President Mike Pence and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, were also expected to attend the opening, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

After a sudden thaw in ties — following months of rising tensions and North Korean missile tests — South and North Korean athletes will march together at the ceremony, behind the blue-and-white Korean unification flag.

Russian athletes will march under a neutral flag after the Russian team was banned from the Games over systemic doping — although 168 Russians deemed to be clean of drug use have been allowed to take part.

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