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LONDON — Describing himself as his country’s “top sprinter without a sponsor,” a British athlete has resorted to selling himself on an online auction site in a desperate bid to raise money to run in his home Olympics.

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London-born James Ellington ran a personal best of 20.52 seconds in the 200 meters in France this year — the fastest time by a British athlete at a non-altitude venue — and also competed at the 2011 world championships.

A string of injury problems, however, has led to him missing out on major sponsorship deals or lottery support in recent years and he is struggling for funds to help him challenge for a place in Britain’s team for the 2012 Games.

The 26-year-old Ellington has therefore turned to eBay to find a sponsor to cover his travel, accommodation and kit costs during the biggest year of his life.

British sprinter raises 2012 sponsorship on eBay

In return, Ellington will wear branded kit at training and media events “at all appropriate opportunities” until the end of the Olympics.

“I’m peaking when it really matters, finishing my best-ever season and smashing my own personal bests just before the 2012 Games,” Ellington said. “All I need now is a commercial sponsor to get on board and I can commit myself full-time to getting into Team GB and hopefully win a medal for Britain.”

Ellington believes he will require at least 30,000 pounds ($47,000) — a wage of 15,000 pounds and the same amount to cover all his expenses — to see him through.

Ellington’s management team said Wednesday that there has already been “a lot of interest” from potential sponsors but he won’t be committing himself to anything until his eBay entry is verified.

On his personal website, Ellington says he also timed a wind-assisted 10.12 seconds in the 100 this year, and ran the third leg as Britain won gold in the 4×100 relay at the European Team Championship in Stockholm in June.


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