Italian-born Kenyan Ashley Ongong’a writes history as first African female Cross-Country Skier to qualify for Winter Youth Olympics

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – Italian-born Kenyan Ashley Tshanda Ongong’a has secured a quota slot to represent Kenya at the Winter Youth Olympics to be held in Gangwon, South Korea in 2024 from January 19 to February 1.

The 16-year-old qualified based on her International Ski Federation (FIS) ranking of the women’s Youth Olympic Games quota allocation lists as of 18 December 2023.

Ashley, will made history as the first African and Kenyan female cross-country skier to qualify for the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

 Born in Italy and holding dual Kenyan and Italian citizenship, Ashley chose to represent Kenya internationally.

She is guided by some of the best ski coaches in Italy, where she attends a sports school, Bachmann Sport College -Tarvisio, under coach Francesco Silverio.

It is here that she horned her skiing skills and achieved notable successes at various competitions.

NOC-K acting as the National Ski Federation, played a pivotal role in Ashley’s journey.

Following a recommendation by NOC-K, Ashley, along with Issa Laborde, an Alpine Skier, this year underwent an intensive 14-day training camp in South Korea under the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation.

NOC-K has also given financial and administrative support to participate in FIS races to get ranking points that earned her a qualification place.

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Secretary General Francis Mutuku emphasized NOC-K’s unwavering commitment to supporting athletes abroad.

“We find great inspiration in witnessing athletes residing abroad who are eager to proudly hoist the Kenyan flag. Their enthusiasm underscores our collective passion for representation, highlighting the significance our national colors hold for them.”

Ashley’s achievements include multiple victories in cross-country ski titles, regional and national championships, and notable participation in international ski competitions.

NOC-K continues to diversify its support for Kenyan athletes globally, ensuring that no deserving athlete is left behind in the Movement.

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