BOY from the slums of India with a huge talent for rugby has won a scholarship to a top British sports academy.
Sailen Tudu was playing barefoot on wasteland in Calcutta with street scavengers when he was spotted by Paul Walsh, a British former diplomat.
Such was his talent that Walsh flew him to the UK there he met ex-England captain Phil Vickery.
And clothing firm boss Vickery was so impressed that he put Sailen forward for a £40,000 sports scholarship at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire Sailen, now 20 and dubbed the Scrumdog Millionaire, touched a rugby ball for the first time in 2005.
He has now been capped several times for India’s national side and is tipped for a professional career. Sailen said: “I first watched kids playing touch rugby with cones on wasteland and I was amazed. “They asked me to join in and I played in my bare feet for a few months. But I loved the speed and thrill of the game.”
Sailen, who is now with the Gloucestershire side Longlevens, hopes to play in the Asian five nations contest on June 2. “I’m playing alongside some of the finest sportsmen in Europe,” he said. “It’s incredible. I’m so lucky.
“I came from a tribal village in the mountains with no running water or electricity, no books, where rugby is unheard of. The people there are some of the poorest in India.”
Vickery’s business partner Richard Yorke, who lets Sailen stay with him at weekends, said: “You see films like Slumdog Millionaire.
Sailen has achieved more than that because he had nothing. He’s the Scrumdog Millionaire!”
Taken from the Daily Express