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It takes a village to train a winner

Fresh from her incredible success at the Games of the Small States of Europe, sprinter and Mediterranean College of Sport (MCS) Ambassador Janet Richard talks about what it takes to develop a winning mentality — and how the MCS can help young student-athletes to follow in her footsteps

It has been a great year for Janet Richard. Already one of Malta’s leading sprinters, she has just capped off twelve months that have included some of her strongest ever performances with a remarkable haul of four medals at the XIX Games of the Small States of Europe held in Malta in May and June.

Richard took home two gold medals in the 400m and the 4x100m relay, as well as silver in the 4x400m and bronze in the 200m.

“Apart from the hard work I put in over the past couple of years leading up to the games, an important factor which I believe contributed to my results was definitely my support system,” says Richard. “When I’m competing, it’s just me on the track or the podium, but it takes a village for me to be able to perform at my best. When I went out there, I did it for all the people who have been with me on this journey, through the ups and the downs.

“Winning these medals for Malta filled me with immense pride;” she continues. “Ultimately, my goal is always to represent my country to the best of my abilities, so to come away from these games with four medals is something I still have not wrapped my head around.”

Having such a firm belief in the importance of a strong support system to achieving success, it’s no surprise that Richard is excited about the potential of the MCS to provide a new generation of athletes with the best possible chance to excel.

“I believe that the Mediterranean College of Sport is the place to be for individuals who wish to prioritise a dual career and excel in both their academics and their sporting career,” maintains Richard. “The college will support its students by providing them with the tools they need to succeed, without prioritising academics over sport or vice-versa.”

Richard also highlights the fact that the college will go beyond physical training, contributing also to student-athletes’ psychological preparation, cultivating a mentality where they see themselves—and can develop into—winners, rather than mere participants.

“Psychological strength and mental toughness are vital skills in sport, and I believe that

the Mediterranean College of Sport will equip its students with a winning attitude by

providing a safe environment for the students to grow and develop confidence in themselves both in the classroom and on the field of play,” Richard shares.

“Students will have access to everything they need to build a successful and fruitful career, including psychological support and coaching in order to develop the mental skills needed in sport.”

For young student-athletes aspiring to follow in her footsteps and pursue a career in sports, Richard also has some words of wisdom.

“Stay disciplined and remain patient,” she advises. “Your results might not always reflect the hard work you’re putting in, but once you break through that barrier, you’ll thank yourself for not giving up. Balancing school and training can feel overwhelming, and that’s normal! What you’re doing is hard—almost impossible sometimes—so it’s important to surround yourself with people who will help you maintain your focus.

“It might seem like a sacrifice now, but when you’re on that stage in your cap and gown, ready to graduate, or on the podium hearing your national anthem and watching your country’s flag fly, you’ll know that it was all worth it,” concludes Richard. “Work for your moment and don’t lose sight of your goals!”

The Mediterranean College of Sport is set to be one of the most pioneering educational and sporting facilities in the Maltese islands, aiming to develop future athletes of international calibre. The co-educational college is set to open its doors to student-athletes in October 2024 and will be housed opposite St Aloysius College in Birkirkara. For further information please send an email to cbonnici@mcs.edu.mt

 

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