Left: Bodybuilder Joseph Carabott, Right: Prime Miniser Robert Abela back in the days
The news that Malta’s new Prime Minister used to be a bodybuilding buff back in the late 1990s blew the prospective minds of many Maltese citizens, not least, Malta’s bodybuilding community.
Many hoped that this revelation would give a boost to the sport’s visibility on the island – however when it comes to his actual body, Maltese bodybuilders quite are satisfied with what they see.
“He looks natural,” said Joseph Carabott, a Maltese bodybuilder and tattoo artist. “He is not that exaggerated, it shows that he kept natural, and to have competed at all it already deserves a well done as it isn’t easy at all.”
Indeed, considering that he competed when he was around 20 years old – a young age for bodybuilders – before moving into law and politics, a few people couldn’t help themselves from comparing Abela to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Mr Olympian turned Governor of California.
“Robert was very promising but obviously a bit inexperienced because of his age, he was very young when he competed,” said another Maltese bodybuilder.
Abela’s successful election boosted the morale of many other athletes and people in Malta.
“I could be Prime Minister,” said another person reacting to Abela’s photo.
Carabott, who was already a fan of Abela’s, was super excited when he found out about Abela’s past.
“The fact that he used to compete as a bodybuilder makes me feel good, maybe because of this now our sport will get more interest in the media,” he said.
“I’m happy that he is our Prime Minister, not because of this,” he continued, “but because I like him as a person and how he speaks. I think that if he does what he believes in, he will be better than when he was a bodybuilder.”
“And,” he continues with a laugh,” “I think he could help gyms stay open 24/7 in Malta by giving them cheaper electricity and lower taxes.”
When asked to critique particular aspects of his body, say his legs or chest, Carabott said it was hard to judge from just one photo.
“I can’t say, but I’ve competed in the IFBB once, and if he competed in the IFBB and got on that stage then the sacrifices that he did already did makes him a winner, no matter how he placed,” he said. “But it has to be in you to do this sport.”