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Jamaica Bobsleigh strikes deal with BMW

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2020 | 12:19 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter

‘Tek yuh hand turn fashion’ has always been a mantra of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (JBSF), and its latest innovative training methods are reaping rewards.

This as car-manufacturing giant BMW has supplied Jamaica’s male two-man bobsled team with a convertible Mini Coupé, which will be used for training for the rest of the season. The German company made the donation after the duo of Shadwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott were pictured pushing a Mini Coupé around Peterborough in England as they try to maintain fitness during the coronavirus lockdown.

JBSF president Christian Stokes is hoping that the car, which is wrapped in black, green, and gold and features the JBSF logo, could be the federation’s first of many deals with BMW as he is looking to get the company to supply helmets and sleds for the teams.

“BMW approached us and said, ‘We will provide you with a Mini for the rest of the season, and we would like some PR from that’, and, of course, once you start a conversation with BMW, then there are other things that you can do. We are looking at helmet deals because they are in that line of business as well. We are looking at sleds [as well as] transportation in Europe and North America,” Stokes shared with The Gleaner.

“The most important thing that we have is our brand and how people perceive us and what it means quite beyond performance on the track. It is a very expensive sport, and we do not have the leverage of private support that the US would have or that Canada or Germany would have just by being an Olympic sport. What we have to do is deliver value to any potential sponsors by leveraging our brand,” Stokes shared.

He continued: “We have a very aggressive social media programme being led by Shadwayne Stephens and Natalliah Stokes. The idea is that we can grow the platforms to a stage where we can present that to potential sponsors.”

The four-time Olympian said that the viral video of Stephens and Turgott pushing the Mini down the street in Peterborough showed the world some of the creativity Jamaican bobsledders have to use to get ready for a winter sport in a tropical country.

“This is something that we had to do simply because we do not have snow, so we have to push carts and cars to get ready when we are not able to go on the ice,” Stokes said.