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Kenyan female skier Sabrina Wanjiru Simader dreams
of medal glory in PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The arrival of Kenya’s sole representative at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang Sabrina Wanjiru Simader has been conceived as another minnow trying to punch above her weight.

But such conclusions will not take the wind out of her sail as she sets out to conquer a new frontier, walk a new path and dare to dream of going a step beyond her role model compatriot Philip Boit by winning a medal in South Korea when the Games start on February 9, 2018.
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The 19-year-old, who is based in Austria, will compete in women’s super-G and giant slalom at the Games.

And unlike Boit who made history to be the first man from Kenya to compete at the Games and finished last at his debut in Nagano in the 10km cross-country skiing, Wanjiru is keen to win a medal.

“My dream is to win a medal.

"I want to give a good performance, which will help me become a professional in the discipline,” she said in Nairobi on Saturday.

However, the world has always taken for granted skiers from African nations.

Most Africans are looked on as amateurs at the Olympic Games but for Wanjiru, she is throwing down the gauntlet and aiming for the medals.

“PyeongChang will be my springboard.

"I want to become a professional skier and nobody should take this as a joke.

"Hopefully my performance will speak for me,” she added.

The Kenyan, who lives in Austria believes she has what it takes to compete at the top level.

  Sabrina Wanjiru Simader represents Kenya at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang | Coastweek

Most Africans are looked on as amateurs at the Olympic Games but for Wanjiru, she is throwing down the gauntlet and aiming for the medals. The Kenyan, who lives in Austria believes she has what it takes to compete at the top level.

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She has taken on challenging and dangerous speed disciplines, downhill and Super G in her adopted home in Vienna.

Usually, racers from outside the traditional Alpine skiing nations do not venture beyond the less risky slalom and giant slalom.

“People always question your ability because they don’t know you.

"But I have done well before and earned respect at the International Ski Federation (FIS) circuit,” she said.

Wanjiru will become only the second Kenyan and first woman to compete at the Winter Games after Boit, a former middle distance runner who participated in cross-country skiing at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Games.

Boit will serve as her team manager in PyeongChang helping in administrative logistic with coach Christian Reif.

Though this will be her first shot at the Winter Olympics as a senior, Wanjiru has since competed at the Winter Youth Games in 2016 and last year’s world skiing championships in St Moritz.

“To compete at this stage is big for me.

"The Olympics have been my dream since I was small,” she said.

However, her team manager believes unlike him, she has the support and willpower to do what she wants and only wishes her the best.

“I was the first Kenyan to take part in the Winter Games but I was not the first African.

"That honour went to Senegal’s Alpine skier Lamine Gueye, who competed at Sarajevo 1984,” said Boit.

They are the trailblazers and maybe soon Africa will be a force to reckon with at the Winter Olympics, especially if Athletics Body IAAF succeeds to get cross country in the Games by 2022.

             

 

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