Athletics

Plymouth hurdler King determined to make Tokyo Olympics despite funding blow

PLYMOUTH international hurdler David King is hoping to find some sponsorship to help him fulfil his Olympic dream after being cut from British Athletics’ world class funding programme.

King represented Great Britain at this year’s World Indoor Championships and European Championships and England at the Commonwealth Games, but he is one of a number of athletes told they will no longer be on the Olympic Podium Potential programme.

The City of Plymouth star struggled with an injury for most of this year. But was told he needed to run 13.3 seconds for the 110m hurdles and reach the European Championship final to stay on the funding.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t do either of those,” said King, who did reach the European and World Indoor Championship semi-finals. “It would have taken a big improvement to do that anyway. Obviously I would have liked to have done it, but it was hard. I also had a few problems this year with my hip and a neural issue thing that was affecting my races. The injury problems prevented me from racing at 100 per cent.

“But despite the injury problems, I don’t feel like I had a bad season. I have been racing well. The times might not have been there, but I have still been beating good people. On that level it has been quite a good season.”

He added: “It is a bit of a blow. It just means I need to look for alternative sources of funding.

“I am determined I will be training as much as I have been and making improvements. We have loads that we are working on this year.”

He continued: “With funding the big package is you get all your physio and sport massages provided for free through the English Institute of Sport. It is a really good set-up but I won’t be able to have access to that anymore.  However, there is a physio that works quite closely with our training group who will be willing to look after me for a small fee, which isn’t too bad, but it is just the general income to be able to pay rent, bills and food.

“I am going to get a part-time job to help fund myself and maybe some work in schools or with athletics and sports clubs.

“I am happy to work, but at the same time it does take away from training and during the season it can be difficult because you are away racing. If I could find someone to help it might mean I can work a little less and concentrate more on training.

“It would be good if I could find a private sponsor who was willing to help support me on my journey. In return I would be happy to provide visits to their business or whatever, give talks, share their message or mention them on social media – anything they want really.

“But I am determined this won’t affect my training.”

King was so close to making the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He thought he had achieved the British qualifying time of 13.47 seconds by running 13.40 seconds at the Gala Dei Castelli meet in Bellinzona, but officials did not accepted that mark as there was a problem with the automatic timing.

The former Devonport High School for Boys pupil did make the World Championships in London the following year and every major competition since then and he is determined to make it to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 – with or without funding.

“In terms of times I would only probably have to run by personal best or just a tiny little bit quicker in two years, so that (making Tokyo) is completely realistic,” said King. “I don’t know about medals; they might happen, but my first target is to get there.”

King goals for 2019 are to make the Great Britain squad for the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow and the outdoor World Championship in Doha at the end of the season.

If anyone is interested in sponsoring King they should email d.king94@virginmedia.com

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