A LINCOLNSHIRE Elite athlete and potential Olympic hopeful could be forced to quit the sport she loves.
Darbi Murphy (pictured) has been passionate about horse riding since she was 18 months old.
She has competed at county level since the age of 11 and in recent years has risen through the ranks to ride at national level.
Now though, the 15-year-old from Market Rasen has become a victim of her own success.
After qualifying for three national championships in dressage, eventing and showjumping in one month, the De Aston School pupil will now have to travel across to Cheshire for two championships and then down to Buckinghamshire to the third.
But, as a single parent, mum Sandra Murphy is finding it increasingly difficult to fund the sport.
“We have not managed to secure any sponsorship from local companies,” said Sandra.
“There are only three athletes recognised through the Elite Athlete Programme in Market Rasen and Darbi is one of them.
“She has proved she has got the talent by competing at a national level in all three equestrian disciplines, but she does not get the support from the town she represents.”
However, with the recent success of the Team GB equestrian riders at London 2012, both Sandra and Darbi hope things may change.
“More people are now aware of the sport and we are hoping that some more funding is generated to assist our athletes,” added Sandra.
“However, it would be amazing if Darbi could secure some sponsorship locally to help her to continue to compete and to ultimately realise her dream of the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“If we do not invest in our youngsters, then we will not have those elite athletes who represent our country so well at the Olympics.
Anyone who feels they can assist in any way with any level of sponsorship to allow Darbi to continue with her training and competitions, can call Sandra on 07903 993879.