Olympic-hopeful long jumper Patrick Sylla is leaping forward with the help of a new sponsor, Douch Family Funeral Directors.
The 19-year-old has his eyes set on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and needs to be a full-time athlete to make it.
Already his personal best is 7m 61cm – equal to 25 feet, the length of a minibus – and he is ranked 18th in the country.
Douch Family Funeral Directors, which has eight branches in Dorset and runs the award-winning Dorset Funeral Plan – got behind the athlete to help propel him up the rankings.
Their support allows Patrick – who attended Harewood College in Bournemouth – to focus entirely on his athletics career.
He has been ranked either first or second in the country in all age groups and is one of Britain’s most promising athletes.
Currently he is doing his winter training and competing at indoor events before the start of the outdoor season.
Patrick said: “I have to make a lot of sacrifices to be a top athlete and I can’t do it without funding.
“It’s hard to get the funding to reach to the top which is why the support from Douch Family Funeral Directors is so important. I can’t thank them enough.
“It has enabled me to do a full winter training programme and hopefully I will extend my personal best during the outdoor season.”
Nick Douch, managing director of the company, said: “Patrick is a highly talented and dedicated athlete.
“Funding is not easy to come by even for such a great prospect so we were pleased to be able to help support him.
“He is already one of the top 20 jumpers in the country and has massive potential.
“We have enjoyed watching his indoor performances this winter and very much look forward to seeing what he can do during the outdoor season.”
Pic caption: Patrick Sylla (airborne) which Jonathan Stretch (left) and Nick Douch, from Douch Family Funeral Directors look on.