A LEADING disabled athlete is facing a funding crisis despite scooping a bronze medal in the latest European Championships.
Shirley runner Andrew Kaar has proved he is more than a match for other athletes across the region, taking the honours in the latest Knowle fun run.
But his bid for Olympic glory could be put in jeopardy if he cannot find enough backers.
Andrew, who has autism, finished third in the 800m at the International Sports Federation for People with an Intellectual Disability (INAS FID) Open Athletics European Championships in Manchester.
The 21-year-old recorded an impressive time of 2.03.18, just two seconds behind the winner.
Now the Solihull and Small Heath Athletic Club runner has his sights set firmly on competing in the London 2012 Olympics.
Father Alan Kaar said: "He'd be prefect for the London 2012 games and it will be a dream for him to run for Britain in the UK. He has been all over the world and we're so proud of him.
"But funding is a problem. At the moment he is funding everything himself and sometimes he can't go to games if he can't afford it."
Mr Kaar is also hopeful that a deal can be struck to safeguard Andrew's place at the Olympics. Competitors with learning disabilities have been unable to enter since the 2000 Sydney games when members of the Spanish basketball team falsely claimed to be sufferers.
Hopes that an agreement on a suitable registering system for athletes with a learning disability to compete in the Paralympics will be decided soon.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," Mr Kaar added. Anyone able to sponsor Andrew should call Nick Parr from MENCAP on 01924 234912. ..SUPL: