Commonwealth Games athlete cannot take up UEL scholarship

Jimmy Thoronka was offered a scholarship at the University of East London

Jimmy Thoronka was offered a scholarship at the University of East London - Credit: Archant

An athlete who was offered a scholarship from the University of East London has lost his appeal to stay in the UK.

Jimmy Thoronka, who competed for Sierra Leone in the 4x100m relay in last year’s Commonwealth Games, went missing after competing when ebola swept through his West African homeland.

The 21-year-old was found sleeping rough in London and was arrested in March by immigration officers for overstaying his visa.

He applied for leave to stay in the UK after being offered a sporting scholarship from the UEL.

The Home Office has turned his application down, and he cannot appeal unless he leaves the UK.

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Speaking earlier this year, deputy vice-chancellor Dusty Amroliwala said: “UEL is a place of abundant opportunity, where a strong sense of social justice runs deeply through the entire fabric of our institution.

“We recognise the potential Jimmy has as a scholar and we are keen to support him in his ambition to enter higher education.”

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Had his immigration status been resolved, Mr Thoronka would have been able to take up a place on the applied community sport foundation course.

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