Teenage skateboarder Taylor Cunningham has flown to Argentina for Olympic trials after meeting a £5,000 fundraising target in just six hours.
Cunningham, 14, from Margate, was invited to South America after winning the Skateboard GB National Championships men’s park event three weeks ago.
He beat Olympic team rider George O’Neill and Sam Beckett, the leading British male on the Paris 2024 World Skate Olympic rankings.
It was a huge opportunity for the youngster, a Year 9 pupil at King Ethlelbert School in Birchington, but there was one major hurdle - the trip would have to be self-funded.
The following day, with the help of his parents, Cunningham launched a GoFundMe page, which raced to its target in six hours.
He flew out yesterday and will be in Argentina until the end of the month.
Paris 2024 isn’t out of the question, although Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032 are bigger targets.
“This is a remarkable opportunity for Taylor, and it could have a significant impact on his skateboarding career,” said mum Kim Geddes.
“He considers it an honour to represent his sport, his local area of south east England and, of course, his country.
“This event in Argentina is just the start of the mountain Tay will need to climb and crucial for him to attend, as a good placing will set him up for following events in years to come.
“With the help of our local community, the skateboard community, friends, family - far and near - and the kindness of complete strangers, we reached our target in just six hours. We thought it would take a lot longer than that.
“The funds he has raised will go towards supporting his travel expenses, including flights, taxis, accommodation, entry fees and insurance, as well as food costs.”
Cunningham started skateboarding aged four.
At five, he participated in in first jam at Revolution Skatepark in Broadstairs, winning the under-7 category.
Since then, he has skated all over the UK and internationally, taking part in various jams, competitions and events.
Other achievements include gold at the Men’s Open Mini-Ramp Championships in 2019, aged just 10.
Last year, he was a baton bearer for the Queen’s Relay at the Commonwealth Games and he also teaches other kids how to skateboard.
Cunningham uses the goofy stance - right foot at the front of the board, pushing with the left - and prefers skating bowl and vert.
His favourite trick is a front blunt and his dream dream is a body varial 540.
“I believe that there’s a sport out there for everyone, and for me, it’s skateboarding,” he said.
Cunningham’s fundraising page has been left open, as further overseas trips are on the horizon. You can donate here.
The family are also looking for help to establish a local vert ramp, as the nearest one is two hours away.
Kim said: “Taylor has been very fortunate to have full access to Revolution Skatepark but now is in desperate need of a more local vert ramp to aid his progression.
“We would love to hear from any Thanet or Kent businesses that may be able to help Tay find a premises that could help him do this or assist in any way.”
To help, email email@example.com.
Cunningham’s progress can be followed on his Instagram page @tayrayskates.