Malta Paralympic Committee highlights transformative power of paralympic sports

During its Annual General Meeting, the Malta Paralympic Committee (MPC) highlighted the transformative power of Paralympic Sport on the lives of individuals with disabilities, their families and our society.

Reflecting on 2023, MPC observed how the efforts and year-on-year increase in investment to provide equal opportunities to access to sport for persons with disabilities is slowly but surely reaping fruit. MPC Secretary General, Dr Julian Bajada, commented that: “When we embarked on this journey together 5 years ago, we were talking of a handful of Para athletes and navigating unchartered territory. By the end of 2023, we have an estimated 70 Para athletes practicing one or more Para Sports and representing a broader array of physical or visual impairments. This trend is reflective of a shift in society’s mentality towards the very concept of disability in sport and encourages us to continue in our mission to enable, educate and empower such individuals through Paralympic Sport.”

2023 coincided with the 5th year anniversary from the formal re-establishment of the MPC in 2018 and MPC noted how over these years we have not only witnessed new Para athletes join the local Paralympic Movement but also a wider variety of Para sports develop in Malta, from the more well- established disciplines, to new opportunities in Para Rowing, Para Powerlifting, Para Sailing, Para Karate, Para Darts and Para Archery. MPC stressed that this development was only made possible
thanks to the collaborations and joint initiatives with various stakeholders in the sport, education and disability sectors.

Lauding the ambitions and aspirations of Maltese Para athletes, MPC underlined some of the achievements in 2023, a year characterised by many firsts: from the first time that a Maltese Para athlete (Kurt Farrugia) competed in an international Paralympic rowing regatta; the highest
international ranking ever achieved in the wheelchair category Para Darts (Bradley Zerafa); multiple gold and silver medals in wheelchair dancesport (Steven Fenech); the first Para Sport Impact Competition for schools and Para Sport Exhibition; the introduction of Para Powerlifting via an international collaboration with renowned Team GB Paralympic Games silver medallist Ali Jawad; a record participation of youth Para swimmers at the ASA U12 Swimming Festivals; to Malta’s first-ever representative (Vladyslava Kravchenko) within the International Paralympic Committee’s
Athletes Council.

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In 2023, MPC also took significant strides forward in strengthening its organisational capacity and operational resources through the allocation of its head office at the SportMalta National Pool Complex and the engagement of its first fulltime Administration and Impact Officer, Ms. Rachel Cachia. Through these developments MPC is better equipped to achieve its objectives in both the immediate and long-term. In addition, MPC announced initiatives with a view to readying the organisation for the future by adopting updates to its statute designed to enhance measures for good governance and ethics in sport and a representative membership model, among other areas.

With less than 100 days to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, MPC also announced that Maja Theuma has had her slot confirmed for the Games and will represent Malta in Para Swimming, following multiple seasons in which Maja demonstrated consistent performances and improvement when competing locally and internationally. In the build up to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, MPC is keen for the Games’ motto of ‘Games wide Open’ to resonate on the local scene and promote the ambition of bringing sport closer to our communities and widening the reach and impact of Para Sport. MPC will be launching a series of initiatives around the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, centred around the aim of transforming lives and inspiring our society to embrace sport as
an integral part of our lives and as a key enabler for lifelong learning, healthy and active living and much more.

As we look towards the next Paralympic cycle, MPC calls upon society to do its part to ensure that sport is enjoyed by all as part of our fundamental human right to a fulfilling, meaningful and dignifying life.

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