Ashley Ongong’a, breaks the barriers by competing Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics

Ashley Ongong’a is the sole represnetive at this year’s Gangwon Winter Youth Olympics set for January 19 to February 1, 2024, in South Korea.

The 16-year-old qualified based on her International Ski Federation ranking of the women’s Youth Olympic Games quota allocation lists as of December 18.

Ongong’a will make history as the first African female cross-country skier to qualify for the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Born in Italy, Ongong’a holds dual citizenship but has opted to represent Kenya internationally.

She is based in Italy, where she attends Bachmann Sports College —Tarvisio, under coach Francesco Silverio.

Following a recommendation by Noc-K, Ongong’a alongside Issa Laborde, an Alpine skier, underwent an intensive 14-day training camp in South Korea this year under the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation.

Noc-K also facilitated her participation in FIS races in the hunt for ranking points.

Noc-K secretary general Francis Mutuku said: “We find great inspiration in witnessing athletes residing abroad eager to hoist the Kenyan flag. Their enthusiasm underscores our collective passion for representation — highlighting the significance our national colours hold for them.”

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