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The Malta Paralympic Committee together with the Mediterranean College of Sport  and Learning Works, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at aligning cooperation and collaboration in the areas of sport development, sports science, and educational excellence. Both entities will endeavour to support the enrolment of Para athletes at the Mediterranean College of Sport at both secondary and sixth form levels to enhance the inclusivity of Para athletes who wish to enrol with the College through the establishment of a target minimum annual Para athlete enrolment.

Para athletes are athletes with eligible physical impairment, visual impairment and/or intellectual impairment, who are eligible for Para sport in accordance with the international rules and regulations on classification of Para athletes and the relevant Para sport discipline.

The MOU was signed by Prof Joseph Grima and by Dr Julian Bajada, President, and Secretary General of the Malta Paralympic Committee respectively, whereas Pio Vassallo and Charlo Bonnici signed as directors of the Mediterranean College of Sport and Learning Works. Learning Works is a licensed Further and Higher Education Institution which offers a range of accredited courses in various disciplines including sport. Vassallo Group chairperson Natalie Briffa Farrugia was present for the signing of the MOU.

The three entities are committing to empowering Para athletes to achieve academic and sport excellence by enrolling with the Mediterranean College of Sport, supporting, and enhancing the long-term development and competitiveness of Para athletes, promoting the integration of Para athletes with able-bodied athletes and teams, developing local experience and expertise in the field of coaching Para athletes and promoting the Mediterranean College of Sport as an educational centre for academic and sporting excellence in sport and Para sport.

As part of this collaboration, Learning Works and the Mediterranean College of Sport have sponsored the participation of one of the coaches of Para Athletes, Edward Caruana Dingli, in the Master’s in International Sport Coaching, which Learning Works is currently running with Liverpool John Moores University, ranked as one of the top ten universities in the world for sport related subjects.

The Mediterranean College of Sport will be a co-educational independent school, located in Birkirkara, that values the importance of sport within the learning process of student-athletes. Opening its doors in 2024 the College will include access to various sports facilities such as a Sport Science and Research Centre, a 25-metre six lane pool, a sport pavilion, two football pitches, on-site accommodation facilities, an athletics track, and a fitness and gymnastics centre.

Established in 2018, the Malta Paralympic Committee is the national body for the development and promotion of Para Sport and is focused on delivering on its ethos of ‘Inclusion meets Excellence’. As it heads into the 2022-2024 Paralympic cycle, the Malta Paralympic Committee has firmly set its sights on entering a new phase of development, grounded in a holistic approach to Para Sport and Para Athlete development. With this MOU, the Malta Paralympic Committee believes an important step has been taken in this direction and commends the forward-looking approach adopted by all involved in making this happen.

Construction work on the new school and the sport facilities commenced in early May following the issue of the necessary permits by the Planning Authority.