It was with immense pride that, before Half Term, Downside learned that Lower Sixth Form sport scholar Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al-Kareem had been confirmed as an England Academy Player with the Bath U18 Rugby Academy. 

This was a major focus for Khalik this year and the whole School was thrilled for him, especially given the disruption to school sport over the last 12 months.

Abdul-Khalik was also invited to train with England U18s last weekend, but was unable to due to injury. With the imminent return of pupils to school and the much anticipated return to school sport, this is another great piece of news for the sporting community at Downside.

Richard Jones, Director of Sport at Downside said of Abdul-Khalik’s achievements to date: This is very well deserved recognition, undoubtedly the culmination of many hours of personal dedication and practice. Abdul-Khalik has thrived since joining Downside in the Fourth Form and has been a great role model for all aspiring young rugby players in the school. His success recognises the value and significance of the support our talented sports performers receive through our Athlete Development Programme. I am certain that Abdul-Khalik will make the most of every learning opportunity and chance to show his abilities with both Bath and England. We wish him every success and we look forward to supporting him on his continuing sporting journey”.

From Abdul-Khalik: Being selected to attend an England U18 camp when I am 16 is a massive achievement for me. I would just like to thank the whole of the Downside sports department for their continued support, and a special thank you to the sports graduates Mr Jones and Mr O’Rourke for giving up their time to drive me to training every week. I am also grateful to have Mr Burns work closely with me; he has helped develop me as a rugby player since I arrived at Downside in the Fourth Form. Although it is great to have been selected for this opportunity this is just one of the milestones in my sporting journey and more hard work is required for me to, hopefully, one day do what I love for a living.

We invite candidates to join our sports scholarships programme at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Candidates wishing to put themselves forward for should contact our Admissions Team via email, or call on +44 (0)1761 235103.