Making Champs: Athlete Scholarships

The plight of Nigerian Athletes came to my attention after Nigeria failed to win a single medal at the 2012 Olympics, the first time that had happened since 1988. I was intrigued by how a country with over 170 million people, half of whom are under 20 years old, could not make any impact on the highest global sports stage.

Immediately after London 2012, I set out to tell the story of Nigeria’s rise and fall at the Olympics in a documentary that took us around the world to interview Nigeria’s former Olympic Medallists. What we discovered compelled me to leave behind a career in Investment Banking and Management Consulting and move back to Nigeria in 2013 to found Making of Champions (MoC).

Despite Nigeria’s obvious embarrassment of riches when it comes to Track & Field, nobody has made a real concerted effort to help lift talented Nigerian kids out of poverty, to protect them from manipulation and abuse, and to give them an education. As a nation we continue to neglect our greatest resource, our youth, and we fail to celebrate them when they do amazing things. This is why most Athletes are so desperate to leave Nigeria at any cost. Did you know that Nigerian-born Athletes hold both the 100m European & Asian records?

Together we can help transform the lives of Nigerian Athletes. So far we’ve recruited 13 of the most talented athletes in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 22 for the MoC Track Club – You can find the profiles and stories of each of our Athletes here. They are trained by our Olympic Medallist Coaches Deji Aliu and Uchenna Emedolu in Lagos & Enugu respectively, and we're launching a third location in Port-Harcourt in 2017, as 3 of our Athletes are now enrolled at the University of Port-Harcourt, where the IAAF High Performance Centre is located!

MoC Student-Athlete Scholarship

We’ve launched Nigeria’s first ever Student-Athlete Scholarship, to send all our Athletes to University, while training them to hopefully represent Nigeria at the 2020 Olympics and beyond. Education must always come first – we need to empower all our athletes with an education that would ensure that they can contribute positively to Nigeria and the world, whether they make it as a professional athlete or not after their studies.

The Scholarship covers the Athletes’ academic and training needs – tuition, accommodation, nutrition, gym facilities, sportswear, training with an Olympic Medallist Coach, and travel to all competitions within Nigeria. So far, we’ve been able to secure full Secondary School or University Scholarships for just 3 of our Athletes from Corporate Sponsors in Nigeria, but we need your help to make sure all of them are supported!

The Scholarship is a not-for-profit venture – all proceeds will go solely towards the expenses for our growing number of Athletes. It will cost us £5,000 ($6,250 or  ₦3M) per Athlete to give them full scholarships for 1 year, so our initial target is to raise £50,000 to fully support our 10 Athletes without Corporate Scholarships yet for the next 1 year.

However much we raise, we will provide all 10 Athletes with as many of the above benefits as we can equally, until we reach our 2017 target of £50,000 to provide all of them with all of these benefits for 1 year!

Thankfully, we’re expecting many of our athletes to represent and win medals for Nigeria at the World Youth & African Junior Championships in 2017, and the African Senior Championships (in Lagos) & Commonwealth Games in 2018.

We’d like to call on Nigerians all over the world and fans of Nigerian and African sports who would like to support the Scholarship for 2017 and beyond, to help educate and Make future Champions from this generation of promising Athletes!

These are the initial 10 Athletes that we plan to award the Scholarship to (click on their names to read their bios and full profiles):

Segun Akhigbe
Blossom Akpedeye
Bowofoluwa Egbeyemi
Chibuike Egbochinam
Peter Edwin
Saheed Jimoh
Glory Nyenke
Ifunanya Muoghalu
Blessing Obarierhu
Eseroghene Oguma

How do we select our Athletes as members of MoC Track Club & recipients of the Student–Athlete Scholarship? It’s been a long and thorough process since 2015, when we launched Top Sprinter, Nigeria’s first ever Athletics Reality TV talent search, with a panel of 4 Olympic Medallist Judges selecting the best talent from nearly 1,000 Athletes across Nigeria at “Auditions” in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu and Benin City. We then selected the best of the best from the 100 whom we invited to our Lagos Bootcamp and Finals!

 While we are confident that we’ve recruited some of the most talented youngsters in Nigeria, talent alone is not enough to be part of MoC – all our Athletes must demonstrate good character and a willingness to pursue and complete their secondary school or university education in Nigeria!

(If you’d like to contribute to this campaign in Naira, you can do so directly to Making of Champions’ GTB Account in Nigeria: 0148644947, and send an email to [email redacted] with your reference number and amount so that we can redeem your rewards for the amount you’ve donated!  We're using GBP/NGN of 600 used to match your donations to our Reward Levels!)

All the e-rewards below the £100 level will be redeemed by May 2017, while the physical rewards (requiring your mailing address) from £100 upwards will be redeemed by August 2017! Corporate Rewards will be redeemed during the term of the Scholarship as applicable!


Bambo Akani

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