Leon Reid: GB sprinter faces up to funding shortage

Leon Reid
Leon Reid competed for Northern Ireland in last year's Commonwealth Games and reached the semi-final

Young British sprinter Leon Reid is determined that his dream of competing at the Olympics will not be affected by a lack of funding.

Reid, 21, recently had his grant cut by British Athletics but is refusing to mope about the situation.

And the Bath-based 200m athlete says his tough childhood in and out of foster care has helped motivate him during a testing time.

"It builds fire in the belly," Reid told BBC Radio Bristol.

Reid, who is fifth on the British all-time list for 200m, spent time in 14 different foster homes.

"I had nothing, everyone always writes you off when you are in foster care," he said.

"At school I was always messing around, I was always fidgeting, the class clown probably because I didn't have a stable home. I went to 10 different schools."

Reid eventually took up sprinting at the relatively late age of 15 after being urged to do so by a school PE teacher and won a silver medal at the European Under-23 Championships in the summer.

Having lost his support from British Athletics, he is now looking for local backers to provide funding as he pursues his Olympic goal.

"Some people react differently to cut funding, I'm leaving no stone unturned, I'm going for it.

"If I'm not at Rio, it'll be the London 2017 World Championships, I'll be there and I'll fight to be on the starting line," he added.

"I got dropped by British Athletics funding, not because of my results, but because the sport is moving on and going places where I'm destined to be but not quite yet.

"I'm just outside the Olympic qualifying level which is 20.50 seconds. I've run 20.62 five times in the rain so it's within touching distance."

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