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Bierley table tennis player needs support for Rio games
9:00am Monday 22nd October 2012 in News
A disabled table tennis player dreaming of making it to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016 is calling for sponsorship and support after his funding was cut when he needed to take a year out of the sport for major surgery.
Oye Jemiyo, of Bierley, had been hoping to qualify for the Paralympic Games at London 2012 through the wildcard system.
But his chances of making the final squad were dashed as he was unable to attend vital tournaments in the run up to the Games because of the operations he needed to his back and shoulder due to having polio as a child.
Failing to qualify for London 2012 then left the 37-year-old without his funding from Leeds-based company Clean Energy.
He is now on the lookout for further sponsorship and funding to attend four international tournaments to be able to make it to the European Championships in Italy next year, before he would be able to qualify for Rio.
He said: “The ultimate goal for Rio means that I would be back into the GB squad and when you’re into the GB squad you get all the benefits that the full elite players get.
“It’s my life. I have been playing table tennis for 16 years.
“It really means a lot to me – in the past I have given up my job to be able to play full time.
“At the moment I’m training five times a week and I’m also in the gym two days a week trying to be as fit as possible.”
Mr Jemiyo, who is currently ranked 56th in the world, said he needs to find about £14,000 to be able to attend the four international tournaments, which he hopes will break him into the top 30.
In 2009 Mr Jemiyo was left out of action for a year when he had an operation to remove rods from his spine, which then became infected.
He said: “That kept me out for a year which obviously affected my world ranking.”
Jonathan Greaves, assistant general secretary at the Heckmondwike Table Tennis Centre, where Mr Jemiyo trains, said: “Obviously you want a local player to get into the Paralympics.
“He’s been really unlucky due to his injury beforehand and I would have liked him to have got through.
“If he had got into London he would have kept on into Rio, so it was just that injury that stopped him.
“He’s definitely good enough.
“He puts in a lot of time and effort.”
Any business or individuals wishing to help Mr Jemiyo raise the money has been asked to contact Mr Greaves on 07868 172361 or e-mail jonathan.greaves3574 @hotmail.co.uk.