Nigeria, the only African country to qualify for the 2024 Youth Winter Olympics, is facing a major challenge: raising enough funds to send its team to Gangwon, South Korea.
The President of the Nigeria Curling Federation, Danmola Daniel revealed on Friday, that the Federation has been running from pillar to post in search of funds to organise a camping exercise for the Nigerian team ahead of the competition in South Korea but with no success.
He described the situation as disheartening while calling on the relevant authorities to urgently come to the aid of the team meant to represent Nigeria and by extension Africa at next year’s Youth Winter Olympics.
“We have done all we could trying to solicit for funds in and around the country and we couldn’t,” said the Nigerian Curling Federation boss.
“This is an amazing thing because we are not just talking about anyhow youth games, it is the Youth Winter Olympics. If it is football I’m sure money would come from every angle for that. An event such as the youth Winter Olympics should be encouraged because these kids were picked from every part of the country not that they had experience before or that people from the diaspora have come to play.”
The Nigerian team qualified for the Youth Winter Olympics last December, but they need to train and compete in Finland and South Korea before the games begin in January.
With only 60 days left until the games, the team is running out of time.
“They qualified since last year December and this is the winter season from September to March and this is the time they should train,” Mr Danmola said. “Now we only have 60 days to go and in this 60-day window we only have one month which is December for them to be properly trained and camped for them to be able to fly to South Korea and compete yet there is no help.”
The Nigerian Curling Federation is appealing to the public and private organizations for help.
They are also hoping that the government will come through with some funding.
“We plead with everyone to see how they can please help team Nigeria curling to get to a training camp in Finland and also in Gangwon to represent the country being the only African country that will be in South Korea in any discipline,” the Curling Federation boss said.
“This is a remarkable achievement and we look forward to receiving help from any quarters.”
Nigeria’s participation in the Youth Winter Olympics would be a historic achievement as the country gradually continues making inroads into winter sports.
Despite what appears to be a hopeless situation, the Nigerian Curling Federation is hoping that the public and private sectors will come together to help make this historic achievement possible.