Sheffield man‘s fundraising drive for Paralympic Games

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A PARALYMPIC table tennis star from Sheffield is trying to raise funds to compete in the London 2012 games.

Farrel Anthony, aged 49, needs to travel to compete in international tournaments across the globe if he is to qualify for the championships next year.

The Batemoor man, who narrowly missed out on qualification for Beijing in 2008, is desperate to compete at the highest level - but needs funds to have a chance.

Speaking to The Star while wowing shoppers at a special demonstration of his skills at Sainsbury’s on Archer Road, Farrel said: “I will be 50 if I qualify to compete next year and there aren’t that many that age playing at this level.”

Farrel, who was born with cerebral palsy, said: “I went to Sydney in 2000 but then took a break because of work commitments. I came back for Beijing but missed out.

“I’m part of the GB squad, but with the funding cuts they are focusing on the youth set-up, which is understandable.

“They are backing me but I’m having to fund myself.

“I need to compete at six tournaments to be eligible to qualify.”

The table tennis whizz, who is forging a career as a motivational speaker, said: “My right-hand side doesn’t really work. But I do compete against able-bodied players as well, and often play in Sheffield competitions.”

The three-time national champion put on a demonstration of his skills at Sainsbury’s, who are backing his bid to make it to the Paralympic Games. He wowed customers with a blisteringly high-paced match against training partner Chris Cattell and offered shoppers and staff the chance to take him on.

“I’m really grateful to the store. They have allowed me raise money and collect funds from shoppers in return for some demonstrations.”

Sainsbury’s Sarah May Le Page said: “He has been really popular in the store.

“It was quite a sight and everyone enjoyed it.”