Help Jimmy Thoronka
Update: Jimmy's story has been confirmed as true. Please keep donating.
(Scroll down for info about the crowd fund)
Sierra Leone’s top sprinter, who vanished after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last summer, has been released after his arrest when he was found in an emaciated state, living rough on the streets of London.
Jimmy Thoronka, who vanished after Commonwealth Games, says he can’t go home because Ebola has wiped out his family
Daily Mail confirm Jimmy's story
BBC. The Washington Post. Irish Mirror. The Independent.
From the original The Guardian article :
"Jimmy Thoronka, 20, his country’s number one 100m sprinter, and tipped by some for a big sporting career, disappeared at the end of the Games last August. Along with several other athletes he failed to return to Sierra Leone, and until now his whereabouts had been unclear. But speaking to the Guardian he has described what has happened to him since he vanished.
The homeless youngester also revealed his feelings at discovering the devastation Ebola has wreaked on his family back home, who had adopted him after the death of his birth parents. “I was very excited to be coming to the Games in Glasgow,” he said.
“I saw it as my big chance. I had competed in international competitions before, in Singapore and the Isle of Man, but this was the big one for me.” When he and his team mates left Sierra Leone for Glasgow, some Ebola cases had been confirmed in a few of the villages surrounding Freetown, but the epidemic had not yet taken hold of the capital. The death toll in the country is now more than 3,500 cases.
Thoronka said: “I was hoping to win a medal for my country. But during the Games I got the terrible news that my uncle had died, probably from Ebola. I couldn’t stop crying. It was difficult to continue with competing but I tried to carry on.” Thoronka competed in one 4x100m relay at the games, but failed to win any medals. He was making times of 10.58 seconds for the 100m sprint before the competition."
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About the crowd fund
My name is Richard Dent. I am a PhD student at University of Cambridge. My PhD is about social networking and it's potential to help those in poverty. You can find me on Twitter here:
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Getting the funds to Jimmy
I've spoken to The Guardian journalist Diane Taylor who wrote the article and we are in discussion about the best way to get Jimmy the funds. I will be as transparent as possible about this process in the updates.
Jimmy's legal status in the UK
Jimmy has broken his visa by staying in the UK. For the record I want this fund to support Jimmy regardless of the legal outcome. These funds are for Jimmy if he stays or if he is deported.
He wants to continue his career in athletics - let's support his dream!
"I am doing fine. Training with the UEL university athletics team at the moment. Although I am not doing much because of a hamstring injury. I have also finished my ECDL course at the university."
No news about Jimmy's current legal case I'm afriad. We continue to wait and hope.
A few weeks ago Jimmy's latest application to stay in the UK was refused by the Home Office. When the decision came back it left open the possibility for an appeal. So we're doing that now. Thanks to you and this crowd fund, Jimmy is able to stay in the UK and train.
He is still working hard and hopes to compete in a competition in a few weeks. He's been training alongside student athletes from University of East London.
This endless waiting game is sadly a familiar story for asylum seekers and visa applicants with non-standard applications. We're all hoping for something to change but its unlikely for the foreseeable future.
As soon as anything changes I'll update you.
Jimmy has few options but there is one more legal process he can pursue in the UK. We continue to use the Trust fund for Jimmy's maintenance and legal costs towards obtaining either a student visa or other permit to stay.
Jimmy will need all the help we can offer him. Please share this news and this page. If you can offer any more direct support please email me at email@example.com