Maltese swimmer qualifies for Paralympic Games

Matthew Sultana will represent Malta after qualifying for the London Paralympics to be held next month.

2012 paralympics qualifier Matthew Sultana
2012 paralympics qualifier Matthew Sultana

After just one year of competitive swimming, Matthew Sultana won three age-group medals at the recent international swim meet held in Berlin, thereby obtaining the selection for the London Paralympic Games to be held next month.

The Malta Paralympic Committee (MPC) said that Sultana classified under a S10 disability, namely a system which allows people with different physical abilities to compete alongside one another in the same event. His classification will be reviewed again just before the games.

Being extremely competitive, the Paralympic Games require excellent performances to qualify.

Malta has been allotted one wild card in swimming, which has allowed the National Paralympic Committee to send Sultana to compete and is considered to be one of the best athletes.

“Sultana's results are not that far from the qualifying times and are continuously improving. He trains under Coach Ebi Mohammadpour at Inspire and has been invited to train with the non-disabled national swim coach to enhance his potential at the Games,” President of the MPC Nathan Farrugia said.

Another athlete with creditable performances and who also achieved the minimum qualifying standards is marathon runner Darren Fenech.

Unfortunately the high level of competition at these Games has resulted in a limited number of participants being selected, with only sub 3 hour marathon times being considered. Despite this setback, Fenech continues to train with commitment.

The Malta Paralympic Committee (MPC) was only recently set up with a promising number of national sports associations joining in with the aim promoting Paralympic Sports and other associated disciplines to youngsters with physical disability.

This is being done through the respective sports associations, with NGOs like Inspire supporting the coaches on adaptations and providing equipment.

A number of sport associations have committed themselves to organising exhibition events and tournaments to allow people to try the various sports over the coming months. The MPC hopes to receive interest from the public in participating in these events. Interested participants can contact the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport and leave their details.

“The Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport has been instrumental in setting up the MPC and has committed to support participation of children with physical disability in sports at grassroots level through its own programmes and through schools. Local business VJ Salomone Marketing ltd has also supported the movement by sponsoring a number of hand cycles to encourage uptake of the sport,” Farrugia said. 

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