Beijing, 14 February 2022 (TDI): Team Eritrea competed at the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 in China. The 2022 Winter Olympics are being held from 4 to 20 February 2022. Alpine skier Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda represented Team Eritrea in the Winter Games.

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda was the only athlete from the country and he carried the country’s flag as well, during the opening ceremony. Eritrea qualified only one male alpine skier by meeting the basic qualification standards.

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda at the opening ceremony
Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda at the opening ceremony

During the contests, Abeda competed in one event, the Men’s Giant Slalom, where he had a combined two-run total for a time of 2:40.45. In Run 1, he came 46th, while in Run 2, he came 41st. Men’s Giant Slalom, Olympic Alpine Skiing was held yesterday 13th February at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre.

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda has the honor of being the first Winter Olympian of Eritrea. The Beijing Winter Games are of significance for Abeda as he made a comeback in Alpine skiing at the 2022 Beijing Games after his accident.

Also read: Team Mongolia at Beijing Winter Olympics

Abeda’s first appearance on the global stage was at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games hosted by South Korea. However, owing to multiple injuries and surgeries as a result of accidents left him with no choice but to retire from the sport.

He resumed skiing in September 2021 along with qualifying for the 2022 Winter Games three months later. The decision to compete for Eritrea in skiing was made by him in 2011. Abeda wants his career accomplishments to encourage other aspiring Africans.

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda: Team Eritrea

Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada in May 1996. Both his parents immigrated to Canada in the early ’90s in the wake of the Eritrean civil war. His father started an entry-level engineering job and settled in the small town.

From a very young age, Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda was exposed to the cold and rugged climate. One day, his sister took a trip to the ski hill with her classmate and she loved it enough to urge her parents to enroll the siblings into the local ski program.

Achievements of Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda
Achievements of Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda

In 2003, Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda started skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Since then, he has contested in multiple races, internationally as well as regionally. In 2011, he decided to represent Eritrea and obtain his citizenship before the Inaugural 2012 Youth Olympic Games.

Also read: China wins first Gold Medal in Beijing Olympics 2022 

Subsequently, he also competed in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games held in South Korea. However, after Korea, he decided to step away from Alpine skiing and focus on his education.

Over the years leading to games, the injuries Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda sustained had affected him and he opted for treatment.  After 10 surgeries fixing his knee, jaw leg, and groin he formally decided to retire.

Nevertheless, during the pandemic, after introspection, he decided to return and participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. Shannon-Ogbnai Abeda aims to pave the path forward for other people of color through his participation.