PORTLAND swimming star has received new backing from construction specialists Acheson as he bids to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.

The freestyle swimmer has endured a difficult summer and lost his funding, but the sponsorship will allow him to continue to train as he resumes his quest to represent England at the Gold Coast next year.

Speaking to Echosport, Lelliott revealed his uncle David had been a key factor in securing the deal.

He said: “My uncle works for the company and I didn’t swim well enough to get funding, so my uncle has been in touch to help me out.

“Acheson wanted to support me and help me get to the next level. The money will help me with training fees, rent, travel fees and getting trains to competitions around the country. I’m extremely grateful for the help and support they’re giving me.”

Lelliott, who won a World University Games silver in the 400m freestyle in August, admitted he was “gutted” not to swim quickly enough, but is targeting December’s winter nationals as he seeks to qualify for the Commonwealths.

He said: “I’m more gutted that I didn’t get the times I wanted. That’s going to mark my territory and stamp my ground.

“I’ve got the winter nationals in December, that’s my last opportunity to qualify for the Commonwealths.

“I’m going to get in there and give it my best shot.”

Acheson contracts director Colin Johnson said the company was “delighted” to offer Lelliott their backing.

He said: “David brought Jay to our attention and we’re delighted to offer him some sponsorship to get him to the level where he could compete at the Commonwealth Games and of course he’s a local chap from Portland.”