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Top African sprinter arrested in Walworth after refusing to return to Sierra Leone after Commonwealth Games

A world-class African sprinter was arrested in Walworth last week after doing a runner from the Commonwealth Games in the summer and sleeping rough in London for months.

Jimmy Thoronka, who is Sierra Leone’s top 100m sprinter, was tracked down by police in Thurlow Street on Friday evening and taken to Walworth Police station.

He was arrested for immigration offences as the temporary visa he had to take part in the Glasgow games had expired.

The 20-year-old athlete has since been handed over to the UK Border Agency who are considering his claim for asylum, while a petition has been started online with around 5,000 supporters to stop his deportation.

A student from Cambridge University also managed to raise £20,000 over the weekend to help Jimmy pursue his athletics career whether he is deported or granted asylum in the UK.

Jimmy told the BBC that while he was competing for his country he received the sad news that some of his family had died when his hometown was ravaged by Ebola.

Since fleeing Glasgow, the missing sports star has been sleeping rough in London and is now being held in a detention centre pending the outcome of his application for asylum.

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