Zimbabwean sprinter Marvin Bheka, who lives in Cardiff, is starting a 30-month jail sentence for drug dealing - leaving the children’s charity he was setting up in limbo.
The 31-year-old, who ran on the European circuit and reached the 100 metres final at last year’s Welsh Athletics Championships, admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply at Cardiff Crown Court in July, BBC Wales reported.
District Crown prosecutor Lisa James said: "Bheka intended to make money out of this illegal activity but fortunately was stopped by officers.
"The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) presented strong evidence to the court resulting in Bheka entering an early guilty plea."
Bheka had claimed he wanted to give youngsters in his native Zimbabwe chances he was given in sport.
The charity's development officer said it is now "on hold" until late 2019.
After representing Zimbabwe and competing in international events, Bheka was involved in a car accident in 2010 which stopped him participating in sport for four years.
Bheka arrived in London in 2013 and after compact pressure relief surgery, started competing on the European athletics circuit, but further injuries hampered his progress.
He competed at last year’s Welsh Athletics 100th Outdoor Senior Championships at Cardiff International Sports Campus, finishing fifth in the 100m final in 10.74sec.
It was reportedly also last year that Bheka turned his attention to establishing a charity named Mavhiri Cares - based on his sprinting nickname of Mavhiri, meaning "wheels" - with the aim to "change lives, change communities and change the world".
A website was set up where the public could sponsor children while officers were appointed to promote it around the world.
Its aim was to "break down barriers" and help children reach their potential, stating: "It is our vision to get every kid and young adult hooked on sport in one form or another, be it participation, volunteering and careers in the sport industry."
Bheka had a "tough upbringing" in Harare, according to a former coach, but excelled at sports - www.insidethegames.biz