James Dasaolu: Olympic sprinter seeks public help for 'career-saving' surgery

James Dasaolu
Dasaolu is the joint second fastest British sprinter of all-time

Olympic sprinter James Dasaolu has appealed for public help to pay for "vital" surgery, which he says will save his career.

The London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian, who missed the 2018 Commonwealth Games with injury, ruptured his Achilles tendon in training on Friday.

Dasaolu requires an estimated £25,000 if he is to have any chance of reaching Tokyo 2020.

"This is the biggest challenge I've faced in my career," he told BBC Sport.

"I have been feeling great and fast, but just felt a 'pop' in my heel in training on Friday and it was heart wrenching to get the diagnosis."

Rehabilitation for people who suffer fully ruptured Achilles tendons can take up to two years, but advanced techniques can reduce that to six-12 months.

Winter Olympian John Jackson had a similar procedure less than a year before the Sochi 2014 Games and made a rapid recovery.

"The surgeon has told me that I need a specific type of surgery if I want to have any chance of returning to top-level sprinting," said Dasaolu. "That needs to happen in the next two weeks."

The two-time European champion, 31, is the joint second-fastest British 100m sprinter of all time.

Despite helping the British 4x100m relay team to European Championship gold in 2016 he had his funding removed by British Athletics later that year after failing to progress beyond the Olympic 100m semi-finals.

Some encouraging results followed in 2017 and after taking the 2018 season off to support his family, after the arrival of their third child, he was aiming to return to racing in the coming months.

"Being taken off funding means I don't have any medical cover, so I have to find my own way of paying for treatment," Dasaolu said.

"Sprinting is our main source of income, so when I'm not running I'm not earning and it's not easy, but my wife is going to go and work and we have a good family support network who are offering help."

Dasaolu launched his crowd-funding campaign shortly after the injury on Friday and raised over 10% of his funding target within hours of the site going live.

A host of fellow British track athletes, such as Adam Gemili, Tiffany Porter, Cindy Ofili, CJ Ujah, Dai Green, Martin Rooney, Daryll Neita, Reece Prescod and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey as well as Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead have already donated to his campaign and so far over £4,000 has been raised.

"I've been really taken aback and really touched by all of the support from people who are trying to get me back on my feet - it's remarkable," Dasaolu said.

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