Runner Mbambo gets American scholarship

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A dedication to middle distance running has earned former Ashburton College student Taonga Mbambo a scholarship to an American university.

The 18-year-old completed his education at Ashburton College last year and will start his studies at La Salle University in Philadelphia in September.

The opportunity will help him further develop his running and will expose him to more experienced coaches and competitions. It will also offer him financial support in working towards gaining a degree.

Mbambo was named Athletics Canterbury’s secondary school Non Stadia Athlete of the year earlier this year.

He competed for the New Zealand U20 team at the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark in March.

While in Denmark he met with a coach from La Salle University and was later offered and accepted the scholarship.

La Salle is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 school, competing in the highest level of college athletics in the USA, and has offered Mbambo an academic and athletics scholarship starting in August.

He is collating school academic documentation, filling in his visa application and will need to undertake a medical before he leaves.

Mbambo said he was very thankful to Ashburton for the support and encouragement he received over the last few years and also to St David’s Church, which had encouraged his efforts.

His choice of subject was still to be confirmed, but it would likely be a Business Management or Sports Psychology degree, both four year courses.