Kenya’s lone representative at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, carried the country’s flag at the opening ceremony of the Games on Friday at the Pyeongchang Olympic Satdium in Pyeongchang, Korea.
Sabrina arrived in South Korea on Thursday and was welcomed in style by Kenyans living in the Asian country.
Head of the Kenyan mission in Seoul, H.E Mohammed Gello and his deputy, Ambassador Gathoga Chege led a group of Kenyans in welcoming her at the Incheon Airport.
“At the Opening Ceremony it was very cool carrying the flag as the only athlete. I was really proud. It’s cool seeing a big team like Canada in front of you. That was funny. It was emotional for me too because the world is watching. It’s a dream come true,” the 19-year old told reporters.
Sabrina arrived in the company of her mother, Sarah Simader and her personal trainer, Christian Reif.
“To say we are over-excited despite the crazy conditions here over Sabrina’s determination is an understatement. Everybody here, including our Ambassador and Kenyans in Korea, indeed Asia are so thrilled over our real chances to advance in this Games through Sabrina,” said NOCK President, Paul Tergat as he welcomed the Kenyan delegation to Pyeongchang.
Sabrina, who learnt her skiing skills at school in Austria after leaving Kenya at 3 years to join her mother has already made a mark in the skiing community.
She qualified for the Pyeongchang Winter Games last year during the World skiing Championship in St. Moritz and also took part in the same year in World Cup Alpine skiing circuit with very impressive showing.
“I have a lot of faith and tremendous confidence in this girl to surprise us during these Games. She is so happy with her qualification and preparations. Her dream to participate in Olympics has come true, add to that the presence of her grandmother, Naomi Wanjiku and you understand why she can’t wait to start. We are all ready”, said the Kenyan team Chef de Mission, Philp Boit.
Boit is himself a former and first Kenyan Winter Games Olympian.
This is not the first time that Sabrina is going it alone in a big way for Kenya. In 2016 she was the country’s only representative at the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
She also took part in the World Championships 2017 and Junior World Championships in January 2018. Both of these events took place in Switzerland.