No sale! Auction fails but sprinter finds sponsor

A British athlete who tried to pay the costs of his Olympic preparations by selling himself on an online auction site has found a sponsor at last.

Sprinter James Ellington thought he had succeeded in covering the travel, accommodation and kit costs for the London Games when he received a 35,000 pound offer on eBay.

It turned out to be a hoax but a shaving product manufacturer has stepped in to sponsor the 26-year-old Londoner.

"Going on eBay gave me amazing exposure but unfortunately the winning bidder wasn't genuine,'' Ellington said Tuesday. "I couldn't be happier that the deal has been sorted.

"Now I can focus on winning a medal for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics.''

Ellington ran the third leg as Britain won gold in the 4x100 relay at the European Team Championship last year, but a string of injury problems meant Ellington he missed out on major sponsorship deals or national lottery support.

"I personally want to thank all of the people who emailed, tweeted and wrote to me,'' said Ellington, whose 20.52 seconds in the 200 in France last year was the fastest time by a British athlete at a non-altitude venue.

"I've been so touched by all of your messages of support and even donations to my cause. Whatever I manage to achieve at London 2012, I'm doing it for you.''

Ellington offered to wear branded kit at training and media events "at all appropriate opportunities'' until the end of the Olympics in exchange for sponsorship.

He estimated that he needed at least 30,000 pounds half in wages and the rest to cover expenses.

Ellington's new sponsor, King of Shaves, previously sponsored British skeleton competitors Kristan Bromley and Shelley Rudman at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Rudman clinched silver in the women's competition.

"Shelley famously slid to a superb silver,'' King of Shaves Chief Executive Will King said.

"So when I heard James was struggling to raise funds and go for gold, I was delighted to get King of Shaves involved.''

- AAP

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