An aspiring sportsman and Paralympic hopeful from Watford has secured £1,000 from the rent-to-buy retailer Brighthouse to finance a trip to the United States.

The deal means that Michael Pope jetted off to San Diego for four days of events beginning today.  He will be one of 300 athletes competing in the US National Games, held by the Dwarf Athletic Association of America. 

At last year’s competition, held in Michigan, Michael achieved gold in discus and silver in Shot Put.

The sponsorship contributes to costs of flights, accommodation, fees and kit.  It assists Michael to participating in the San Diego and other major events, as he gears up towards securing a place in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.

During recent months, Michael’s performance has gone from strength to strength. 

Earlier in June, at the England Disability Championships, he threw his personal best in shot put, to win silver.  He also won bronze in discus. 

He followed up this success at last week’s CP Sport Grand Prix in Doncaster, matching his PB in shot and moving second in the Grand Prix league table.

Michael said: "I’m really grateful for BrightHouse’s continued support for my training.  I hope that all of my preparation for San Diego results in an exciting competition next week.

"From there, I’m looking forward to training hard as we enter the final two years before the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro."

A former SportsAid athlete, 19-year old Michael has been a member of the Dwarf Sports Association since 2001, competing in Disability Athletics, including shot put and discus. Michael trains six days per week, as well as reading Sports Studies at Hertfordshire University, where he recently passed his first year exams.

Leo McKee, Chief Executive of BrightHouse which is based in Watford, said: "We’re delighted to be supporting Michael in his preparation for the Paralympics.

"He is an exceptional athlete, whose dedication and track record have him in great shape to compete well in San Diego. Michael’s cheerful outlook coupled with his exceptional commitment are simply inspirational."