Sierra Leone sprinter Jimmy Thoronka has been overwhelmed with offers of help from British citizens just five days after British media outlet; the Guardian, published a report about the athlete found starving and homeless on the streets of London.
Latest reports according to the Guardian, since Friday when they broke the story, thousands of people from the UK and all over the world have responded to his plight and the first offer of help came less than five minutes after the story went online.
“A man said that if the Guardian could let him know what Thoronka needed in terms of food and clothes he would be happy to meet him at London’s Kings Cross Station and hand them over to him.
It was further reported that Richard Dent, the Cambridge University PhD student who set up the ‘gofundme’ campaign for the sprinter had raised more than £20,000 in the space of two days. Dent appealed for funds to help Thoronka with his training, whether it is in the UK, or back in Sierra Leone or in a third country of his choice.
Meanwhile, the sprinter who was arrested last Saturday by London police on a charge of overstaying his visa was released the following day (Sunday night) and will not be deported to Sierra Leone yet.
“I am so happy that I am free again,” he told the Guardian. “At first I was told that they were going to send me back to Sierra Leone and I cried and cried. I was very scared.”
With lots of help now the sprinter said: “I am amazed that people all over the world have offered to help me after they read my story,” I don’t know how to thank everyone. If I can make a success of my life as a sprinter my plan is to go back to Sierra Leone and help homeless people. I know how much suffering there is when you are homeless. Last week I had no hope but now maybe I will make it.”
Thoronka was part of the Sierra Leone delegation which travelled to the UK last July to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He ran in the 4 x 100-metre relay.