Olympic hopeful struggles for funding

A Bournemouth based long jumper is struggling to get the funds required to realise his Olympic dream.

Paul Oluyemi, 22, is ranked fifth in the country for long jump, and is the number one U23 long jumper in the UK. He feels he has a strong chance of making Team GB squad this summer, but at the moment he can’t afford to fund his preparation.

Paul organised his own fund raising event last night in an attempt to raise some money.

“I applied for a certain amount of funding from UK Athletics [a government body], they gave me some funding but that isn’t enough to get through the 2012 season, including the Olympics. They normally give you more, but because of the budget they’ve got this year they’ve had to reduce it to an amount which is not enough for me.

“So I thought I’d put it into my own hands and raise some funds for myself. There’s going to be a lot of my friends and people coming down to have fun and see all the talents I’ve got to offer.”

Paul with Arsenal legend Ian Wright

There are many costs in running an athletic season, including competition entry, physiotherapy and special sports nutrition. In all it adds up to around £10,000.

One the large costs is training. Paul will hopefully be sending a month in America, where he will train alongside four times World Champion, and Olympic Gold Medallist, Dwight Phillips.

He is confident that this will get him up to the standard required to make the GB team.

“As long as you’ve met the standard you’re guaranteed to go. We’re the hosts so they’ll take as many athletes as they can. If the whole top five got to the same standard then they’ll take all five of us. Or if you win the National Championship in Birmingham on the first of July then you’re guaranteed a spot, so there are different ways to get selected for the Olympics.”

“Right now I’m close. There’s a 70 per cent chance I will be in the Olympics, I’m still getting there. All this funding I’m going to get today will help me train better and afford more equipment, so I should see a big improvement this year. Fingers crossed.”

Photos kindly provided by Paul.

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