Nigerian student wins £70,000 scholarship to learn rugby

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Michael Olorunlogbon
Michael Olorunlogbon

Michael Olorunlogbon, a 16 years old Nigerian student has been offered a life-changing Arnold Foundation scholarship to learn rugby.

Michael a keen footballer, who has never played rugby, won the £70,000 scholarship for his academic ability and outstanding performance at Hassenbrook Academy. The highly elated lad said: “I will enjoy playing rugby but football will be my main sport.”

The award will transform Michael as he will start playing rugby on The Close, the school’s famous pitch where in 1823 William Webb Ellis first ran with the ball and invented the game.

Michael is the 100th student to get Arnold Foundation which was launched in 2003 to provide bursaries for boarders at the Warwickshire school and he was put forward by the East Side Young Leaders’ Academy, set up to develop the leadership potential of African and Caribbean boys.

Michael, who recently joined Rugby’s sixth form, will have all his fees and living costs of around £35,000 a year paid.

The Headmaster, Peter Green said he hoped Michael and other Arnold Foundation scholars would have a “ripple effect” on their communities when they return home.

Mr Green told the Evening Standard: “We might be able to be transformative and transform their lives. Then when they go to university, and after, they can start to transform their own local communities. It’s not about parachuting someone out of that. We want to keep their association with where they are from.”

The Arnold Foundation was launched in 2003 to provide bursaries for boarders at the Warwickshire school and Michael was put forward by the East Side Young Leaders’ Academy, set up to develop the leadership potential of African and Caribbean boys.

Before moving to Rugby, Michael lived with his mother, a maths teacher, near Arsenal’s Emirates stadium. His father lives in Nigeria and his older sister is studying at university.

He got 10 GCSEs and is studying A- levels in history, maths, physics and economics. He said that when he walks into the school “I think ‘wow’…how many generations have walked down these corridors.”