A giant Somalian student is among a team of basketball players taking part in a match against college staff for Comic Relief.
Towering at mighty 6ft 8ins tall, Abdi Adam, 17, plays regularly for the Basketball Academy at The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).
He and his family fled the war torn East African country in February 2011 when he was just 11 years old and the devastation is anything but a distant memory.
“My family came to this country about six years ago to have a better life,” said Abdi, who is studying Construction at the College.
“Back home there is nothing good going on, which is one of the reasons my dad brought us here. The war was very scary. Here you don’t have to worry about being attacked or being killed.”
Somalia is now also among several East African nations gripped by famine, which has seen more than 100 people die from starvation. Comic Relief announced this month it was investing £1 million in the region, including Somalia.
“It’s really sad to see my country like that, and see people on the news who are starving and dying every day. I feel very lucky to be here, getting a good education and a good future.”
“I have been playing basketball on and off since I came to this country. Football was my first sport, but about a year and a half ago I started taking basketball more seriously and when I came to the College I joined the Basketball Academy,” he said.
“The facilities are very good and coaches have played professionally and have a lot of knowledge and experience about the game, and I am really enjoying playing here.”
Abdi, who is a fan of the New York Knicks and lists legendary Chicago Bulls’ player Michael Jordan among his heroes, was pleased to be supporting Comic Relief.
“Many people in Somalia do not have much, so it’s nice to know there are people who care about what is happening out there and are raising money,” he said.
“I am looking forward to the match. It will be fun to be up against the staff, and support the charity as well.”
The match will take place at the College’s Sports Centre in Enfield on 29 March, a week after Red Nose Day. The Football Academy will also be taking on staff in a match for the charity.