He can run 100 metres in 10.23 seconds, has competed for his country against the world's best over 200 metres and is ranked No 3 in Britain. What James Ellington is finding a little more difficult, however, is attracting a sponsor. So the 26-year-old runner has put himself on the internet auction site eBay.

Ellington put his failure to secure the kind of financial backing most of his peers enjoy to "bad timing" after a serious hamstring tear last year sidelined him at precisely the time firms were looking for athletes to sponsor ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

"When you're injured and a big company comes and asks who is doing well at the moment, who has a good chance of running in the Olympics, they don't see you as an athlete with potential, you are just another injured runner who's not competing, so that made it difficult," he said yesterday as he launched his plan to attract a financial backer.

Ellington's eBay ad will appear today for 10 days. Bidding is starting at £500 and the ad explains that the highest bidder will "wear the sponsor's branded kit at every possible opportunity where appropriate... until after the 2012 Games".