Sophie Abela started out as a small island girl with big dreams and a passion for basketball – now she is Malta’s first basketball player to win a US regional competition.
Two years ago, Sophie Abela made a life-changing decision to move to the United States and pursue her life-long dream of playing basketball.
“My whole lifestyle had to change in order to get to that point,” she told Lovin Malta.
Abela started playing basketball at the young age of five-years-old. While she was growing up, she continued to realise that this was not just a hobby for her, but it was something that she wanted to build a future out of.
Lovin Malta spoke to Sophie Abela on her journey leading up to this reality, the struggles she found along the way and the lessons learned.
Growing up, she experienced a sense of disadvantage being a woman in sports, and this even affected her in some ways when she was abroad.
She recounted how “growing up as a young girl in school trying to compete with the boys in P.E, they always used to pretend that I wasn’t good enough”.
“Abroad, we also never got prime time for our games, we always used to play at 5pm when everyone’s still getting off work, whereas the men’s basketball team would play at 7pm,” she said.
She also addressed struggles that she encountered while living in America, from being treated differently due to being an international student, to a knee injury before the final playoffs.
However, she continued to say that while they experienced a sense of different treatment due to being international students, that only fuelled and motivated them even more in the long run.
Abela recounted how her best highlight of the experience was winning the championship that made them regional champions.
She concluded by offering some words of encouragement and hope to local Maltese athletes trying to make it.
“Dream big, never give up and if you aspire to do something then don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not gonna manage. Keep your head focused and keep going at it,” she said.
This production was sponsored by NITROGYM, which offers services ideal for both recovery and performance in athletes.
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