By Zjan Shirinian

Jon Pollock won two Paralympic bronze medals, competing at four Games before retiring after London 2012 ©Getty ImagesA British Paralympic medallist has hit out at the legacy of London 2012, saying he feels he has been "tossed on the scrap heap" after failing to find a job since retiring two years ago.

Former wheelchair basketball player Jon Pollock told Wigan Today: "I don't believe in the Olympic legacy, Paralympic legacy or London legacy."

After retiring at the age of 35 post-London 2012, Pollock set about finding employment, but he says it has proved virtually impossible.

"I retired after London and since then I'm not entitled to benefits because lottery funding isn't taxable," he explained.

"So when I go and apply for a job, the woman in the job centre said I should do charity work.

"But that doesn't pay the bills.

"I would absolutely love to just settle into a routine job and earn money for my family, it's all I want.

"I'm involved in charities and I enjoy that but it doesn't pay the bills, it's charitable and that's the whole point of it.

"The job centre have been absolutely useless."

Pollock, a bronze  medallist at both the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, said he blames British Wheelchair Basketball for doing "absolutely nothing" to help him.

But the organisation has told insidethegames the ex-athlete was given financial support after London 2012 and offered more direct support which it says was turned down.

Jon Pollock (centre) celebrates as the British team stride towards bronze at Athens 2004 ©Getty ImagesJon Pollock (centre) celebrates as the British team stride towards bronze at Athens 2004
©Getty Images

Pollock added: "I've given everything I have to my career and now I just feel like I've been tossed on the scrap heap.

"I don't think I'm owed a living at all, I want to work and I want the opportunity everyone else would have.

"If I'd given two decades of service to anything else, I'd be fine but disability sport is just not recognised as a career it seems."

As well as Paralympic bronze, Pollock, who has spina bifida, also played in the semi-finals at Sydney 2000 and London 2012, but lost the bronze medal match on both occasions.

But he said if he could, he would turn the clock back and give up his sporting accolades to have a steady career.

"If I could take these tattoos off reminding me where I've been, I'd give back all my Paralympic medals to have had a 9-5 job for the past 20 years, I'd do it," he said.

A spokesman for British Wheelchair Basketball said: "During an athlete's playing career we provide them with access to a performance lifestyle specialist, who helps them to plan for their career after sport.

"This support takes place throughout a player's playing career and is usually continued for a six month period after their retirement.

"In Jon's case, because we had been made aware he was struggling to find work, this offer was extended for a full year post London.

"Unfortunately Jon decided not to take advantage of the support that was made available to him either during or after his career.

"I am sure we can still make this offer available."

The spokesman added that its partners give athletes "opportunities to develop skills and prepare them for life after sport", which it says Pollock has not asked for.

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