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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Refugee wins Harrow scholarship
student writing
Mumtaz had to prove his academic abilities
A refugee from Afghanistan who passed nine GCSEs two years after learning English has been awarded a scholarship to Harrow School.

Mumtaz Habib was smuggled out of Afghanistan four years ago because the Taleban were trying to force him to join the militia.

The 12 year old was sent to Britain with his younger brother and they lived with their sister in Harrow.

He went to a state school in Harrow, Rooks Heath High School, where he learned English, studied well and was made deputy head boy.

He also proved to be a good sportsman and his skills caught the eye of Harrow's cricket master when he was practising at an indoor cricket centre owned by Harrow.

Mumtaz was asked to practise with the Harrow schoolboys and eventually he was offered a full bursary to cover the school's fees of 20,985 a year.

'Incredible ability'

First he had to demonstrate his academic abilities, which he did by passing nine GCSEs.

Harrow's Head Master, Barnaby Lenon, said: "Mumtaz's incredible sporting ability first brought him to our attention but what impressed us about him, and was a major factor in winning him this scholarship, was his personality.

"He is fully aware of the opportunities an education at Harrow offers him, and the same drive that enabled him to get nine GCSEs after only two years of learning English, is now enabling him to develop both academically and in sport."

Mumtaz, who is now 17, has been boarding at the school since September.

As well as cricket, he plays basketball, badminton, hockey and rugby.

"In Afghanistan we used to play a sort of cricket with a tennis ball, to keep fit. But that was the only sport I played there, everything else I learned at Rook's Heath or Harrow," he said.

Mumtaz plans to go to university in the UK after sitting his A-levels.

Then he hopes to play cricket professionally.

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26 Apr 02  |  Education

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