Football team needs Paris boost
THE captain of a national football team is appealing for support to help make the dreams of disabled athletes come true.
Jon Bolding, from Binfield, is captain of the England wheelchair football team, as well as his club team, Aspire Powerchair Football Club.
Aspire has been invited to compete in the Powerchair Champions League later this year, but the players require sponsorship to cover the costs involved in taking part.
The competition, which takes place in Paris, will cost each player £430.
Mr Bolding said: "We receive no funding and all our players have to self-fund training, travel and competition. All our players also require a carer to attend with them, thus making it very expensive.
"We'd love any support to give people the opportunity to represent England at a major tournament.
"We want to see the sport grow. At the major finals (World Cup and Champions League) the host nation tries to get schools and other people to watch."
Mr Bolding, who suffers from Central Core Myopathy, a disease which causes leg muscles to develop at a slower rate than normal, had to give up playing normal football as he was too slow.
Powerchair football involves four players on each team and is played on a surface slighter bigger than a basketball court.
Jon captained England in the World Cup final in 2012, but the team lost 3-0 to America. He said: "To be honest it took until the national anthem played at the start for it to seem real.
"I've been playing wheelchair football for about 11 years but in England we've only been playing competitively for about seven years.
"In America and Japan they've played for 30 years. USA had never lost before the group stage in 2012 but we beat them 1-0. It didn't work out in the final."
He revealed Aspire PFC is holding a raffle on Saturday, March 16, to raise funds for the trip and so far football clubs have donated memorabilia and shops have given vouchers.
He said: "We'd appreciate anything really that we can get for the raffle."
If you can help Jon or his teammates, email JonBolding8@gmail.com