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Brazilian Olympic hero begins fundraising drive

Posted on Mar 01 2014 | IANS

Rio de Janeiro, Mar 1 : Brazilian Olympic long jump champion Maurren Maggi has launched an internet fundraising campaign to bankroll her bid for gold at the Rio 2016 Games.

The 37-year-old has not had a sponsor since January last year and has set a goal of raising 100,000 Brazilian reais (USD 43,000) to cover the professional costs of her Olympic preparation, reported Xinhua.

"Many people ask me: 'If Maurren Maggi cannot get a sponsor, what chance do the other athletes have?' I ask myself the same question," Maggi said on her campaign web site.

"I hope that through this campaign I can create a new movement in Brazil where the athletes unite and support each other in a democratic and open manner that is directly linked to the public."

In return for their contributions, fans will have the chance to win prizes such as signed T-shirts and even meals with the athlete.

Her gold at the Beijing 2008 Games made Maggi the first Brazilian woman to triumph in an individual Olympic event.

She is also the South American record holder for the 100m hurdles and triple jump.

Maggi's campaign comes almost a year after Brazilian Olympic champion gymnast Arthur Zanetti threatened to switch nationalities due to a lack of public funding.

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