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Athlete who sold himself on eBay renews sponsor search

James Ellington Pic: Third City

One of Team GB’s top sprinters is hoping the sales of a new DVD will help to promote himself as he appeals for new sponsorship.

Catford’s James Ellington, 27, is one of 12 international athletes to feature in the official London Olympics documentary, First.

The 200m-sprinter famously tried to sell himself on internet auction site eBay last January.

He has recently moved to Loughborough to train full time. However, as of the start of 2013 he will need a sponsor to help ‘make the most of his talent’.

“Getting a sponsor is a struggle,” Ellington told Eastlondonlines. “Last year I tried to sell myself on eBay because sponsorship is 100 per cent important when you make a decision on your life and career and to make the most of your talent. You have to go headfirst into it.

“Before [the 2012 Olympics] I was training part time; training with a coach in Croydon three days a week and training on my own for another three.

“I knew the sort of thing I could achieve part time. So I put myself up for sale. King of Shaves [the toiletries company] came in early and said they would help me out if I were struggling. It helped with publicity and a campaign that people bid, but I knew King of Shaves were there if I got stuck.”

The company ended up investing in the athlete for a year. At the time Will King, the CEO of King of Shaves said: “I was delighted to get involved as part of our ‘Wingman’ Project – supporting people and businesses with winning potential.”

Previous sponsorship money meant that Ellington could afford to dedicate himself to training, a step he took only six months before the Olympics began.

At his base in Loughborough Ellington says he now benefits from daily coach interaction and expert training “for up to five hours at a time”.

“After the Games I was identified as one athlete who could benefit form more training. Charles van Commenee asked me if I would like to train with one of the best coaches in the world and I said ‘yes’.

“It is a long-term deal and Loughborough could be my home for up to five years.”

Ellington is back in London every three weeks and is currently in town as part of a search for a commercial agent alongside PR company Third City, who recently won an award for their pro bono work with the sprinter.

A spokesperson said of Ellington: “There is something about James’ gutsy drive to succeed – even when the going gets tough – that gets people wanting to help him. Third City have been providing media support and advice for the last year and helped make his eBay idea a resounding hit with press around the world.”

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One Response to Athlete who sold himself on eBay renews sponsor search

  1. Steven Fredericks

    November 29, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Any Athletes looking for sponsorship should check out Indiegogo. Crowdfunding helped many elite athletes Compete in London this past summer.

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