British sprinter James Ellington came up with a novel idea in advance of this summer's Olympics in London, offering up his sponsorship rights on eBay in order to pay his expenses between now and July. But he now fears that he's been the victim of a hoax, as the winning bidder has failed to come forward.
Ellington sold his sponsorship for £32,500, with the auction closing on Dec. 17, but he's yet to hear from the winning bidder, and an eBay spokeswoman says the buyer "doesn't appear to be bona fide," according to a report in The Telegraph.
Ellington had planned to put the winning bidder's logo on his uniform in exchange for the cash to cover this year's training, travel and living expenses. Now his plan appears to be in jeopardy.
"I’ve spoken to the guys at eBay," Ellington said. "They say they are still trying to get in touch with the highest bidder, but they are finding it difficult, and they are not sure whether the top bids may be people just messing around."
Ellington remains determined to earn a top-two finish in the 200 meters at the Olympic trials in Birmingham in June, earning a spot in this summer's Games. He insists he will not be deterred by the failed auction attempt. "I won't even focus on it," he said. "I'm just trying to get on with things and focus on my training."