Worcester Warriors Cheick Kone named PLAY Achiever of the Year Award
Cheick Kone credited Project Rugby with providing him with a purpose in life as he was named PLAY Achiever of the Year – supported by Gallagher – at the 2019 Premiership Rugby Parliamentary Community Awards.
The award recognises someone who has excelled in any programme which introduces rugby to new audiences.
Thanks to the help of Project Rugby, this description embodies Cheick who has gone from knowing nothing about the sport to being involved with Worcester Warriors Under-16 Academy, as well as taking part in an England Under-16 festival.
Cheick, who saw off Bath Rugby’s Jess McConnell, Kascie Higgins of Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks’ Howard Coppenhall for the award, has overcome a turbulent upbringing including moving from his native Ivory Coast to Wolverhampton to excel at the sport in the space of just five months.
“I’m really happy to have won the award. I’d like to thank my coaches, Worcester and my teachers from school,” Cheick said when presented with the award at the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“Project Rugby has helped me a lot along the way. When I was in school people used to ask me what I was going to do in the future and I didn’t know.
“Now, I play rugby and I’ve decided to play rugby in the long term so I just need to focus on being the best I can be.”
When he first arrived in Britain in 2015 Cheick initially struggled to fit in and his turbulent life had a clear negative effect on his education.
But, after having a Project Rugby session delivered at his school, Cheick became heavily involved with the programme and turned his life around as a result becoming not only a talented rugby player but also a much more mature person and far more productive in school.
He added: “Rugby has helped me to grow up a bit, it helped me to focus in school more and to try my best in all walks of life.
“I love rugby. I’ve made a lot of friends from it and they’re helping me out, it’s a team game so it’s great to work together with others.”