Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mica's Olympic Funding Fight

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mica's Olympic Funding Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner stuart.rayner@trinitymirror.com @sturayner

AN INTERNATIONAL-class athlete from Consett will have to put her hopes of competing at an Olympics on ice unless she can raise PS30,000 in a matter of weeks.

Mica McNeill, 23, was last season's World Junior Bobsleigh champion, and had qualified for next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

But an overspend by the British Olympic Association saw her funding cut, and now she hopes to raise PS30,000 by the end of the month.

"To have met the qualifying standard then have our funding removed so close to the Games, I was really shocked when I heard," said driver McNeill.

"I tried to argue the fact but there was nothing I could do.

"When I asked why they told me there had been an overspend but we don't have answers as to why it happened to us. I would love to know.

"It's just ridiculous it's happened so close to an Olympics.

"Now I just have to stay positive and see if I can raise enough money. I'm optimistic PS30,000 will be enough."

McNeill set up a Go Funding page at 1.30pm yesterday and within hours it had raised more than PS2,000, but she will need far more to have a realistic chance in South Korea.

"The money we're trying to raise is for travel, accommodation, race fees and for our sled," she explained.

"It's hard to say when I need the money by, but to have a realistic chance and take no risks we will have to get it by the end of the month.

"The boys' squad are going on ice on October 6, and we want to be there too.

"Getting runs and experience is such a massive thing in my sport, and we could show up without it on February 9, but it wouldn't be giving ourselves the best chance.

"UK Sport gives select athletes funding and I still receive that but I'm a fulltime athlete and I have a flat, bills to pay and a car to run. …

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