September 26, 2017 / 9:36 AM / a year ago

Olympics-Bobsleigh-British women raise the cash to compete

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Two British women bobsledders have kept alive their dream of competing at next year's Pyeongchang Olympics by raising the money they need after being told there was only enough funding for the men.

Mica McNeill and team mate Mica Moore had appealed for 30,000 pounds ($40,425.00) to get to February's Games in South Korea.

The tally on their page had reached 32,575 pounds by Tuesday, six days after being launched, with 574 people contributing.

McNeill said the 'overwhelming' support meant the pair, who won the world junior title in January, could now compete on the World Cup circuit, which they needed to do in order to qualify.

"We are powered by the people and it is them who will be pushing us down the track," the 24-year-old, a silver medallist at the 2012 Youth Winter Olympics, told the BBC.

"I truly believe we will win an Olympic medal, whether it is in this cycle or the next. I am committed to Pyeongchang and the next Winter Olympics in Beijing and I am prepared to do what it takes to get there."

Women's bobsleigh was added to the Olympic programme at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and Britain has yet to win a medal in it.

The men have won four medals over the years, including two-man gold in 1964 and a four-man bronze in 1998.

"I know that bobsleigh is an expensive sport but I just am really disappointed that it has come to this," McNeill had said last week when launching her initiative to overcome the funding problem.

"They (the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association) tried to tell us it was because we weren't medal potential but I said, 'You're funding three men's crews.'

"I said, 'Why don't you just be honest and say you're not funding us because there's no money?', and they said, 'Yes, it's because there's no money -- if there was we'd be funding you'."

The BBSA said last week that it was 'actively seeking commercial funding to further support our world class programme and we will continue to do so.'

$1 = 0.7421 pounds Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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