Simisola Adeagbo: Newspaper reports athlete’s performance like a disappointed father

Newspaper reports Simisola Adeagbo’s performance like a disappointed father

The lack of context and apparent dismissal of her efforts to reach this stage of the event or even feature at the Winter Olympics is what Punch Newspapers and Idris Adesina are most guilty of.

A Nigerian Journalist, Idris Adesina and the publication, Punch Newspapers, are facing heavy criticism for reporting Simisola Adeagbo’s performance at the Winter Olympics, with the headline “Simisola Disappoints”.

Nigeria’s sole representative in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics, Simisola Adeagbo finished last in the women’s individual run, behind 19 other contestants.

As part of its reports on the Winter Games holding in Pyeongchang, the publication wrote a fairly detailed summary of her participation in the event. The headline written in bold letters, “Simisola Disappoints” stood out prominently.


After the report was run in the February 20, 2018 issue of the national daily, fans of the athlete and many Nigerians expressed their displeasure at the report, mostly for its lack of perspective and perceived negative leanings.

"A disappointing report"

On social media, the reaction was one of distaste and many users shared photos of the report with short tirades about how Simisola’s achievement and performance in the competition was not put in context.

ALSO READ: Nigeria's Bobsled team averages 78.49s in 2 Heats

Popular Nigerian influencer and commentator, Japheth Omojuwa took to Instagram to make his opinion known.

In a post dated the 20th of January 2018, he expressed his disgust at the report writing “ Being a journalist is beyond reporting what you see, it is being wise and putting your stories in perspective.”

It is not about even being emotional, it is about putting your facts on the canvas that holds them together.

 “And in this case, the fact is Nigeria made history on the canvas of a few Nigerian Women like Simidele who dared to see what even as a country we never saw. I celebrate them! Every sane Nigerian should! This was even beyond Nigeria, these ones did it for Africa!

Simisola Adeagbo is one of a group of Nigerians who have broken records as the first to fly the green-white-green flag at the Winter Olympics. The South-African based artiste is the first African to compete in the skeleton event at the competition.

Together with the Bobsled trio of Seun Adigun, Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere, she had to set up the relevant federation to ensure Nigeria was represented in the event.

Prior to 2017, Nigeria had no existing federation for winter sports and despite much hoopla about expanding its involvement in other sports, had never even planned that years to come it would compete at the Winter Olympics.

A story worth celebrating

The lack of context and apparent dismissal of her efforts to reach this stage of the event or even feature at the Winter Olympics is what Punch Newspapers and Idris Adesina are most guilty of.

With news of mass murder, insurgency and dominating the headlines, Nigerians rarely have anything worth celebrating.

In recent months, the women who have put their time, money and physical strength into taking Nigeria to the Winter Olympics have been an unlikely bright spot.

Surely, it is not too much to ask that they are celebrated and not put down.

The journalist whose name appears on this report has since deflected responsibility; he claims that it was his line-editor, not him, who wrote and sanctioned the headline.

Sensationalist and attention-grabbing headlines are common in Nigerian journalism for obvious reasons. But none of that validates the insensitivity in the report or putting Simisola’s endeavours down to a limited interpretation of her performance in a single event.

Simisola and her peers deserve adulation, not criticism. And definitely, not a report that reads like it was written by a disappointed father.


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