Meet The Maltese Athletes At The Summer Olympics
Make us proud, boys and girls!
The Rio Summer Olympics – kicking off on 5 August – are quite literally around the corner, and Malta isn’t sitting this one out.
The event – which will be running until 21 August – was beset by its fair share of controversy, what with concerns about a Zika outbreak early on, a general mistrust of the Brazilian economy at this point in time, as well as the shocking news of the entire Russian contingent being banned from the competition due to widespread corruption.
But Maltese fans do have something to look forward to in the competition, as a total of seven of our athletes are currently gearing up to give it their all in South America in the coming weeks.
Here’s who you should be rooting for in Rio, even if your patriotic fervour – or general love of sports – is at its minimum.
1. William Chetcuti
This 31-year-old shooter from Mellieha is certainly no stranger to the Olympics, having served as Malta’s first flag-bearer in the London 2012 Olympics, and securing ninth place for Malta during that same competition. Specializing in double-trap shooting and rearing into the sport from the tender age of 10, William Chetcuti can boast of several notable prizes throughout his career, among them a gold medal in the 2013 Mediterranean Games.
2. Charlotte Wingfield
Category: Athletics – Track
Though based in Cardiff, Charlotte Wingfield decided to switch her allegiance from UK to Malta – her dad’s Maltese – and nabbed a Gold medal at the Games of the Small States of Europe in June 2015. Now, she will be competing at the Women’s 100 metres in Rio. Here’s hoping the Force is still strong with her.
3. Andrew Chetcuti
Another Maltese expat returning to his roots in the name of the sport, US-based butterfly swimmer Andrew Chetcuti will be competing in the men’s 100 metre freestyle: where the current record-holder is the Brazilian César Cielo, who secured 46.91 at the 2009 Olympics in Rome.
Chetcuti was born in Pieta in 1992, but lived in the United Arab Emirates before finally settling in Atlanta, Georgia. Despite this, he will be Malta’s official flag-bearer in Rio.
4. Eleanor Bezzina
Though not as much of a household name as William Chetcuti, Eleanor Bezzina has more than proven her mettle in the past, especially after taking home the Gold at the 2014 Games of the Small States of Europe in Luxembourg.
5. Nicola Muscat
This 22-year-old swimmer is taking a second stab at Olympic glory, after competing at the 2012 Games in London and finishing with a time of 27.22 seconds in the heats of the 50 metre women’s freestyle.
6. Luke Bezzina
Category: Athletics – Track
The 21-year-old Luke Bezzina will be replacing Kevin Moore, who is currently facing doping allegations ahead of the competition.
7. Kyle Micallef
Malta will be participating in this field for the very first time, thanks to the qualification of 29-year-old weightlifter Kyle Micallef, who will be battling for supremacy among the 85kg category.