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How the career of Britain's second fastest man was saved by the owners of a Norwich corner shop

PUBLISHED: 08:48 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:48 27 March 2019

Akintola, left, and Abosede Dasaolu, at their Newsagents on Witard Road, parents of James Dasaolu. Picture: Denise Bradley

Akintola, left, and Abosede Dasaolu, at their Newsagents on Witard Road, parents of James Dasaolu. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

The owners of a Norwich corner shop have helped save the career of the second-fastest man in British sprinting history.

James Dasaolu, middle, in the 100m heats alongside Usain Bolt. Photo: Nick ButcherJames Dasaolu, middle, in the 100m heats alongside Usain Bolt. Photo: Nick Butcher

James Dasaolu ruptured his Achilles tendon in November and was told advanced surgery was required if he wanted to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The unfunded athlete feared the worst as he needed £9,000 for the procedure and a further £16,000 for ongoing rehabilitation.

But thanks to a gofundme page set up by his father Akintola, who runs a newsagents on the Heartsease estate, money for the surgery was raised within days.

Mr Dasaolu, 59, said: “James still has so much potential and there was just no way I could come up with that money on my own.

London Olympics 2012. 
James Dasaolu in the 100m heats alongside Usain Bolt.
London Olympics 2012. James Dasaolu in the 100m heats alongside Usain Bolt.

“He is not someone who would ask for help, but I told him he has to.

“I said to him let’s see what will happen and there was a very, very big response.”

The crowdfunding campaign was launched by Mr Dasaolu on November 30 - the same day of his son’s injury.

Following an influx of donations from friends, family and teammates - including Dina Asher-Smith and Adam Gemili - he underwent an operation within a fortnight.

Akintola, left, and Abosede Dasaolu outside their shop in 2019. Photo: Luke PowellAkintola, left, and Abosede Dasaolu outside their shop in 2019. Photo: Luke Powell

Mr Dasaolu said his son, who is the joint second fastest 100m runner in the UK, lost his athlete funding and sponsorship in 2016.

He now works as a personal trainer at a gym and is going through rehabilitation in order to compete again.

Mr Dasaolu, who owns Your Ideal Shop on Witard Road with his wife Abosede, said they were both very proud of their son.

James Dasaolu, 31, who has a 100m PB of 9.91 seconds, said the donations on the gofundme page had saved his career.

“Things are going really well at the moment,” he said. “There is no reason why I can’t make a full recovery and my soul aim is Tokyo in 2020.

“I have always said I come back stronger whenever I have been injured in the past.”

Mr Dasaolu, who won the European 100m title in 2014, but last competed in 2017, said he was very grateful for the donations.

So far £15,450 has been raised of the £25,000 target which is needed for him to complete his rehabilitation.

• To donate to James Dasaolu gofundme page, visit www.gofundme.com/james-dasaolu-treatment

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