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High School Basketball Star Says He Didn't Know He was 29

Image: High School Basketball Star Says He Didn't Know He was 29

Jonathan Elia Nicola. (Twitter@nkeung)

By    |   Thursday, 28 Apr 2016 11:30 AM

A high school basketball star attending school in Canada on a student visa claimed he didn't know he was actually 29 years old.

Jonathan Elia Nicola, a 6-foot-9 South Sudanese man, said he didn’t know his real age when he enrolled at a Windsor high school on a full scholarship in November, The Toronto Star reported.

Canada Border Services Agency was alerted in December after Nicola applied for a U.S. visitor’s visa to play basketball and his fingerprints matched those of a man with the same name who was refused a United States visa in Nairobi in April 2015.


“His student visa application and passport to Canada said he was born on Nov. 25, 1998, but the records with U.S. authorities showed his date of birth as Nov. 1, 1986,” The Star noted.

Nicola, who has been held by immigration officials since April 15, said at an April 19 hearing that his mother never told him his specific age because she couldn't remember.

“Over (in South Sudan) . . . not every year we study . . . we always keep moving to different schools, and over there, they do not ask your age. They do not ask you nothing,” Nicola said. He insisted that he is not a liar and expressed concern for his mother, who has diabetes.

Nicola is considered a flight risk and will remain in jail until at least May 24, the Windsor Star reported.

Catholic school board spokesman Stephen Fields attended a hearing this week and called it “a sad story,” the Star said.

High school basketball coach Peter Cusumano said he was suspicious about Nicola’s age from the moment he arrived, CBC News reported.

"Everybody had their suspicions," Cusumano said. "But he had all the right answers. He came in with a lot more documentation than a lot of other kids arrive with."

He called the situation “horrible,” saying "I can't imagine how hard it is on this young man right now."

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A high school basketball star attending school in Canada on a student visa claimed he didn't know he was actually 29 years old.
high school, basketball, star
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2016-30-28
Thursday, 28 Apr 2016 11:30 AM
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