A SPORTS student will be given the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch today.
Ali Abdillahi, who lives with foster parents in Nuneaton, will be running through Coventry in the prestigious role.
The 18-year-old North Warwickshire and Hinckley College student was nominated by Coventry City Council.
Ali, who is originally from Somalia, came to Coventry when he was just 13.
Since then he has not only mastered the English language, but also achieved nine GCSEs, a BTEC Level 1 sports diploma at the college and is now working towards his City and Guilds Level 2 diploma in sport.
His dream is to become a professional footballer and at 13 he was spotted by scouts and signed for Coventry City Football Club’s Academy.
Speaking of his opportunity to carry an Olympic torch Ali said: “I was delighted to hear I had been nominated as a torchbearer.”
Social worker Xandra Gilchrist said: “Ali is an amazing young man. The first time I met him he had only just come into care and one of the few possessions he owned was a pair of football boots which were falling apart.
“Within a couple of years Ali was playing for Coventry City Academy and was sponsored by Adidas who bought him six pairs of football boots!”
Ali has been unable to trace his family and has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK with his foster carers by the Home Office.
Marion Plant OBE, principal and chief executive of North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, said: “Ali is a hardworking and popular student and his story is an inspiration to our students and staff.”
Coventry City Council was given the opportunity to nominate two people as Olympic torchbearers.
The leader of the local authority, councillor John Mutton, wanted to give the opportunity to young people who had overcome challenging circumstances.
For further information visit www.coventry.gov.uk/olympictorch- relay