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Who will be the top PledgeSports people of 2017?

The clock is already ticking on 2017, but what will the coming year have in store for PledgeSports’ athletes? In 12 months time, who will stand out as our athlete/team of the year?

We already have one person on the list for 17 and that’s Barefoot Aleks.  He is set to be the first person to ever run the entire length of Europe when he lads in Tarifa in Spain in late February.

Here, we take a look at the stars of years gone by to see what this year’s group have to compete with!

Athlete of the year 2014 – James Cluskey

0tAafVdTJames Cluskey was one of the first athletes on PledgeSports back when it all began in early 2014! At the time, crowdfunding was quite unfamiliar to many and virtually unheard of in sporting circles.

But, boy did James make a splash! He was so popular that the global publication Bloomberg covered his story in their feature on crowdfunding for sport. Check it out! 

James became one of the first successfully crowdfunded tennis players in the world. Just take a look at how much this guy raised.

He has since retired from professional tennis but has gone on to do great things. Only last year he hosted a tennis tournament in Nectar Island for his new friend, the one and only Richard Branson (I’ve never heard of him either…).

Nowadays, James is working on a secret plan for a new tennis app. Watch this space ladies and gentlemen!

Athlete of the year 2015 – Emma Cahill

2015-02-12_new_6945981_I1Emma Cahill was once told she would never walk again, since that day she has scaled greater heights than many will in their entire life.

Not talking no for an answer Emma went through extensive rehab, walked again the defied the odd once more and competed competitively in dressage again!  Emma came to PledgeSports to raise money that would help her compete at the European Para-Dressage Championships.

With her inspiring story, Emma’s fundraising grew and in no time she joined the our 100% club – she raised how much!?

Emma’s success goes far beyond sport however. Thanks to crowdfunding, Emma has been afforded the opportunity to feature in a short film about her life. made by regular PledgeSports contributor Jessica Lamb.  That same film has been premiered at film festivals around the globe!

And it doesn’t stop there. Emma has also become a TedX speaker too – pretty amazing and completely deserved of our top athlete gong in 2015!

Team of the year 2015 – Tanzania Women’s Hockey Team

Why do dreams exist, if not to strive to reach them?

Screenshot-2015-07-29-11.13.48An sporting dream shared by 20 African women who trained and played their sport on sand and stones. Who could have predicted they would have achieved so much? Who could have known the number of hearts and imaginations they would capture.

Under the guidance of the their inspiring Italian coach, Valentia Quaranta, the face of hockey in Tanzania would be transformed forever. Valentia, who originally came visited Tanzania as a volunteer, would eventually become the person responsible for breathing life back in to the women’s sport.

She did just that – motivating and leading her group of determined players to the African section of Olympic qualifiers and creating a solid foundation for the progression and future of hockey in the country.

Athlete of the year 2016 – Jim Gump

15094937_1160765760686971_335066617988388214_nIt’s one thing to take on an incredible challenge to better yourself, it’s another thing to do it for many others.

After watching the London Olympics in 2012, Jim Plunkett-Cole (Jim Gump) felt inspired. Come January 2013, he decided to run 10km per day, every single day, for the entire year.

Fast forward to October 2016 and Jim was still running. In fact, he had been running for 1,366 days without fail, amassing an incredible 10,000 continuous miles in the company of his trusted collie, Alfredo.

On October 1st, 2016, Jim Gump set off on a 20,000 mile run through the US.  This run, when completed (30,000 miles), will be the longest continuous run in history.

Why is he doing it? Simple. To inspire children around the world to live healthier, more active lifestyles and fight the ever-growing issue of obesity among our youngest generation.

Team of the year 2016 – Irish Men’s Hockey

When a team is in it’s hour of need, who else shall pick them up and carry them over the line but their dedicated fans?

PANews_P-108d282e-580c-4e04-87ac-0670283de03b_I1-2Not only was the crowdfunding exploits of the Irish Men’s hockey team a testament to the character of the squad and their followers, but also a perfect demonstration of how powerful crowdfunding can be in sport.

The team had one of the most successful year’s in its history in 2016, firstly by being the first Irish hockey team to qualify for the Olympics since 1908. Secondly, they were the most successful team crowdfunding project of the entire 2016 Olympics.

Take a look at this – Rio2016 

Think you or someone you know could top our list for 2017? Get in touch with us via info@pledgesports.org to discuss how we help athletes and teams achieve their sporting ambitions.

Otherwise, visit the PledgeSports website and hit “Create A Campaign” to start raising money today.

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