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Paralympian and Mediterranean College of Sport Ambassador Thomas Borg talks about the importance of resilience and the role a college like MCS can play in the life of young aspiring athletes.

Thomas Borg, who is currently reading for an M.Sc. in Prosthetics and Orthotics, is also a multi-talented athlete who represented Malta at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where he set a new national record and a personal best.

Borg, who was born with an underdeveloped right forearm, never let this physical challenge slow him down, going on to excel at a variety of disciplines. He credits his supportive family with instilling in him a strong work ethic and a fierce determination. “Parents play a crucial role in the development of young para-athletes. Their support, encouragement and understanding are fundamental in fostering resilience and determination,” he explains. His own resilience was tested more than once, most remarkably in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where he was meant to compete as a swimmer. An unfortunate injury dashed that dream, but Borg was quick to bounce back, qualifying for the Men’s T47 100m and 400m races. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I have always believed that sport plays a crucial role in everyday life, not only in keeping us physically fit, but it also helps our mental wellbeing and makes us socially active,” he states. “After a long day of mental focus with books or lectures, I can regain energy and clarity with a good training session. It leaves me feeling more focused and better equipped to do more.” A high achiever both academically and in sport, Borg learned through experience that balancing the rigorous demands of training and competing while also excelling academically requires discipline, consistency, and having a clear goal.

“I believe I could have achieved even greater heights had I had access to facilities and support like those offered by Mediterranean College of Sport when I was younger,” he shares. “MCS represents a significant step forward in supporting Malta’s future athletes, offering them the facilities and training needed to compete at higher levels, both nationally and internationally, while also giving them skills for success in other professional fields.” Borg stresses his strong belief in MCS’s mission to create a holistic environment for student-athletes, adding that the college’s commitment to integrating high-level sports training with academic excellence perfectly aligns with his own values.

When asked how he prepares for competitions, Borg emphasises the importance of preparation. “I prepare healthy lunches and snacks for the week ahead every Sunday. I train daily, sometimes twice a day, and every session is between two and three hours long, so having the right fuel for my body is essential,” he says. “The life of a student athlete is very busy, and being prepared has enabled me to keep performing at the highest level, both in sport and academically. It definitely helps to have guidance from physiotherapists, masseurs, and nutritionists to maximise recovery, and all these services are also available to MCS students.”

Through his role as ambassador, Borg hopes to inspire other children and individuals with disabilities to be proactive and take control of their own lives. His advice to young athletes, particularly those facing physical challenges, is to remain persistent and resilient. “You are in charge of waking up every day and taking a step closer to creating the life you desire. It is all about writing your own story,” he continues. “Surround yourself with people who believe in your potential, stay focused on your goals, and remember that your unique challenges can become your greatest strengths.”

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 students in October 2024 and will be housed adjacent to St Aloysius College in Birkirkara.