Malta’s two Paralympian athletes, swimmer Vlada Kravchenko and runner Thomas Borg, completed their first round of games at the Tokyo games this morning.
Kravchenko, 29, competed in the 50m women’s butterfly heats, finishing seventh out of seven, while Borg, 19, competed in the 100m men’s 100m heats, finishing seventh out of eight.
Borg’s run was impressive in its own right, though, with the Maltese teenager setting a Personal Best time of 12.01 seconds. “Would have liked to break the 12-second mark but happy nonetheless,” he said on Instagram following the admirable feat. “Looking forward to the 400-metre next week!”
Kravchenko will swim again on 30th August while Borg will end Malta’s duties at the games with a race on 3rd September.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games were always going to be tough for Malta, the smallest country participating at the tournament.
Malta Paralympic Committee President Joseph Grima had admitted at a press conference that the Maltese para-athletes were starting off at a disadvantage, with financial limitations meaning they cannot compete overseas more than once a year.
“Our para-athletes will be giving their best, but we need to understand that they only compete abroad once a year, which is how much we can afford,” he said.
“They’ll be competing against athletes who compete regularly in high-level competitions.”
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However, Kravchenko made it clear that these games were about something greater than the individual Maltese athletes.
“As someone told us yesterday: You may be the smallest nation but you have the biggest hearts,” she said.
“We are here to pave the way for the next generation of Para athletes and be the living proof that your dreams are what you make of them.”
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