821 Views

Itoje Maro: The Inspiring Story of 21-Yr-Old Nigerian Being Groomed as a Future England Iconic Rugby Captain

In a sport that requires ferocious power and unrelenting drive, it is no surprise that the hulking figure of Maro Itoje has become England’s latest rugby sensation.
Although his 6ft 5in, 18st 4lb physique suggests a lifetime spent in the gym in pursuit of his dream, however, he is just as likely to be found writing poetry while his friends practise on the pitch.
Other perhaps surprising interests include classical singing, the opera, visiting art galleries and debating foreign policy.
But a glance at the aspirational background of this 21-year-old son of immigrant parents from Nigeria shows that he is no ordinary sportsman.
His eye-catching talent as a youngster saw him awarded a sports scholarship to £36,000-a-year public school Harrow.
With it came a warning from his parents that if he neglected his studies he could forget about rugby.
As well as being told to put his schoolwork first, he was also given stern advice that he would have to ‘fight extra hard’ for opportunities because he belonged to an ethnic minority.
The player heeded the wise words and was yesterday hailed as a future England captain after being included for the first time in the starting line-up of the Six Nations team that will play Ireland tomorrow.
He has already captained his club side Saracens in the Aviva Premiership, and captained England’s under-20 side during their victory at the Junior World Championship in 2014.
In keeping with his family’s advice, Itoje – nicknamed ‘the chosen one’ by teammates – shuns partying and insists that rugby is just one in a long list of interests.
While rapidly rising through the ranks of English rugby, he has also been studying for a politics degree at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
The player – who left Harrow with A grades in A-level economics, statistics and politics – was in the choir there and is an avid poet, having taken up writing while on a long-distance rugby trip.
Itoje is pictured with his 48-year-old father Efe
He was born in Camden, North London, after his parents Efe and Florence moved to Britain after marrying in Nigeria. While studying at St George’s, a boarding school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Itoje represented youth national teams in shot-put and basketball. His physicality, however, saw him earmarked as a natural rugby player and he was awarded a bursary to Harrow at the age of 16 despite his limited experience.
The move came with that stern warning from his father, a special needs teacher, who told him that his schoolwork was more important.
Mr Itoje, 48, once said: ‘I made it quite clear from a very early stage that if his grades dropped, the rugby stopped.
‘I told him he needed to make a decision. If he wanted to play rugby then fine, but if his grades dropped I’d declare war on him.’
He added: ‘He was always a very focused young man. He didn’t want to go partying like other teenagers. He was quite unusual in that respect.
‘We instilled the need to be the best he can be and he’s certainly delivered on that front. He’s kept his promise.
‘I’m so proud of him. He’s been blessed with natural talent and he’s a role model as well. The way he conducts himself is very important. He’s my role model now.’
The sportsman grew up in the family’s £700,000 house in Edgware, North London, with his siblings Jeremy, 22, and Isabel, 18.
Itoje has acknowledged the huge inspiration passed from his father and mother, who works as a business administrator. ‘For my family, education is highly important and as a result they ensured that my studies never diminished due to my sporting commitments,’ he said.
‘Not just me, but I think 99 per cent of kids would rather play football or rugby than do their homework. As I grew up I realised the importance of it.’
Unlike many leading sportsmen, Itoje is open about his wide breadth of hobbies, which also include enjoying cricket and even listening to gangster rap.
He is also a devout Christian, thanking God for his call-up to the England national squad in January and once posting a picture of the New Testament on a social media account.
The youngster has become a national sensation in England
The player is unashamed to share his views on controversial topics, such as foreign aid, which he had previously described as causing ‘more damage than good’ in Africa.
He said: ‘It breeds dependency. It breeds inefficiencies in the economy. It does not help make economies independent or standalone.
‘There are so many misconceptions about foreign aid. People think it goes to those who are suffering or starving like they see in the TV adverts but that’s hugely false.’
Harrow’s head of sport Jesse Coulson described Itoje as a ‘unique student’.
He said: ‘He was inspirational to the other boys because he always strived to be the best he could be academically but also to be a top athlete. That combination is quite rare these days.’
Source: Dailymail

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun
Art, History and Culture
32 views
Art, History and Culture
32 views

Drums Festival Generated Lots Of Income For The Government – Governor Amosun

PH - April 25, 2018

The Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun has stated that the just concluded Africa Drums Festival hosted by the state, generated a lot of income for both…

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate
Geeky & Smart
44 views
Geeky & Smart
44 views

I Sat For UTME Six Times – 26-year-old First Class Graduate

PH - April 25, 2018

A 26 year old first class graduate of the Department of Applied Chemistry, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Simon Godwin Idoko, has opened up on how he was…

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!
Best of Nigeria
62 views
Best of Nigeria
62 views

The Activities Lined Up For ‘AMFEST EXPO LAGOS 2018’ Unveiled!

MT - April 24, 2018

AMFEST EXPO is laden with the responsibility of expanding Africa’s creativity economy into the global market. African practitioners in the area of music, fashion, film, food and…

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them
Best of Nigeria
68 views
Best of Nigeria
68 views

Revealed: Here Are 6 Online Scams Everyone Need To Be Aware Of And How To Avoid Them

MT - April 24, 2018

Here are 6 important scams you must watch out for when you are online so as not to fall victim to online fraudsters, according to this article…

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC
Best of Nigeria
80 views
Best of Nigeria
80 views

2019 Election: Why I’m Not Desperate To Be Nigeria’s President – Atiku Speaks On BBC

MT - April 24, 2018

While speaking in an exclusive interview during BBC Hausa morning programme on Tuesday, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, said he is not desperate to become Nigeria’s president,…

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows
Best of Nigeria
80 views
Best of Nigeria
80 views

Anti-Malaria: What ‘Ogbono’ Soup Can Improve In Your Body and Health – Research Shows

MT - April 24, 2018

A Pharmacist, Dr Chukwuma Agubata, has said that taking Irvingia Fat from nuts of Irvingia Gabonensis Var Excelsa, known as ‘Ogbono’ soup has helped to improve the…

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income
Best of Nigeria
78 views
Best of Nigeria
78 views

LISTED: These 3 Habits Can Make You Poor Even If You Have A Reasonable Income

MT - April 24, 2018

When it comes to money, everyone has a habit that either helps you save or lavish your money. But for those who have a reasonable income and…

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims
Entertainment
86 views
Entertainment
86 views

How Rapper, Falz’s Security Aides Rough-handled Me – Actress Kate Henshaw Claims

MT - April 24, 2018

Popular Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw, has taken to her Twitter page on Tuesday to jokingly claim that one of the security aides of rapper, Falz the Bahd…

What I’d Do To Nigeria If I Were God – Popular Apostle Frankly Opens Up
Richest
77 views
Richest
77 views

What I’d Do To Nigeria If I Were God – Popular Apostle Frankly Opens Up

MT - April 24, 2018

Born on Sunday, April 24, 1938, Apostle Hayford Ikponmwonsa Alile, OFR, B.A. MBA (Hon) D.Sc., attended briefly the University of Ibadan as a State Scholar in Physics…

How Cee-C’s Bad Character Caused Her Disgrace – Actress, Susan Peters
Entertainment
85 views
Entertainment
85 views

How Cee-C’s Bad Character Caused Her Disgrace – Actress, Susan Peters

MT - April 24, 2018

Nollywood actress, Susan Peters has taken a swipe at ex-Big Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Cee-C who emerged as 1st runner up. According to Peters, Cee-C’s alleged bad…

Nollywood Actress, Stella Damascus Releases Lovely Photos As She Turns 40
Best of Nigeria
122 views
Best of Nigeria
122 views

Nollywood Actress, Stella Damascus Releases Lovely Photos As She Turns 40

MT - April 24, 2018

Nollywood actress, Stella Damascus has joined the 40 year old gang which includes fellow actresses Omoni Oboli, Omotola, Mercy Aigbe and many more. She marked the birthday…

Video: How Singer, Davido Curved a Groupie That Tried to Hug Him at a Night Club
Entertainment
84 views
Entertainment
84 views

Video: How Singer, Davido Curved a Groupie That Tried to Hug Him at a Night Club

MT - April 24, 2018

Being a celebrity, Davido is susceptible to different types of abuse by women who will do anything to get him in their pants or be his next…

I Will Drop The Biggest Song In Nigeria On April 30 – Davido
Entertainment
67 views
Entertainment
67 views

I Will Drop The Biggest Song In Nigeria On April 30 – Davido

PH - April 24, 2018

Davido says his upcoming single which will be released on April 30 will be the “biggest song in the country”. He said the song is called ‘Assurance’.…

Nigeria’s LPG Sector To Record $10bn Growth In 8 Years – NLPGA
Business
65 views
Business
65 views

Nigeria’s LPG Sector To Record $10bn Growth In 8 Years – NLPGA

PH - April 24, 2018

President of the Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association, NLPGA, Mr. Nuhu Yakubu, has predicted the nation’s LPG sector to record $10 billion growth in the next eight…

Meet Lekan Babalola, Nigeria’s Unsung Multiple Grammy Winner
Best of Nigeria
85 views
Best of Nigeria
85 views

Meet Lekan Babalola, Nigeria’s Unsung Multiple Grammy Winner

PH - April 24, 2018

Lekan Babalola is finding his way back home again. Home is Lagos – the city of dreamers and the restless. It was in Lagos that a young…

Tiwa Savage, Gerald Albright To Headline 2018 Runway Jazz
Entertainment
71 views
Entertainment
71 views

Tiwa Savage, Gerald Albright To Headline 2018 Runway Jazz

PH - April 24, 2018

Runway Jazz, an event that brings jazz music and fashion to the same stage, has returned to do it bigger and better. The 2018 edition of the…

Meet Temitope Ogunsemo, 33-Year-Old Nigerian Who Built A $3Million EdTech Company
Best of Nigeria
94 views
Best of Nigeria
94 views

Meet Temitope Ogunsemo, 33-Year-Old Nigerian Who Built A $3Million EdTech Company

MT - April 24, 2018

Forbes magazine has interviewed a young Nigerian entrepreneur who has successfully built a digital education technology company that presently worth $3million in value. His story will motivate…

BBNaija’s Nina Bags Endorsement Deal
Entertainment
68 views
Entertainment
68 views

BBNaija’s Nina Bags Endorsement Deal

PH - April 24, 2018

Nina Chinonso Onyenobi, who came fifth on the BBNaija reality TV show, has landed an endorsement deal with Flawless By Mimi, a beauty supply shop in Nigeria.…

Loading...