Bringing change through sports

The personal journeys of Gilmour Borg and Rachel Chircop.

Gilmour Borg and Rachel Chircop both tell a story of progress and tenacity. As special olympians, they’ve faced more than their fair share of challenges. Yet, with resilience and determination, they’ve transformed each obstacle into a stepping-stone. This transformation has been fuelled in part by an exciting new partnership between SportMalta and Special Olympics Malta, a collaboration that’s injecting new energy and funding into the support structure for athletes with disabilities.

Gilmour Borg: Building a legacy of achievement

Gilmour Borg is more than an athlete; he’s a visionary who sees the €600,000 funding from SportMalta over the next three years as a cornerstone for future triumphs. “This is a game-changer,” Borg states with conviction. “It’s not just about having better facilities or more funding. It’s about understanding our potential and the doors it can open for us globally. We’re not just participants; we’re competitors eager to show the world what we can do.”

Rachel Chircop: Turning adversity into strength

Rachel Chircop, whose discipline in table tennis is matched by her determination off the court, shares a similar enthusiasm for the recent developments. “When they started signing these agreements, I saw a door opening—not just for us athletes here in Malta but for every Olympian,” she explains. The journey hasn’t been without its hurdles. During the pandemic, Chircop struggled with isolation, bullying, and the mental toll they took. “It was a harsh time, but it forged my resilience. It made me realise that overcoming isn’t just about physical strength but mental courage too.”

Empowerment through community support

Both athletes highlight how critical visibility and community support have been in their journeys. “People need to see us for our abilities, not our disabilities,” Chircop points out. “We have the capability; we just need the chance to show it.”

Borg nods in agreement, appreciative of the backing from figures like Dr Lydia Abela, President of Special Olympics Malta, and Clifton Grima, Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research, and Innovation. Their support reinforces the importance of not resting on past achievements but pushing forward for continuous improvement.

A future fuelled by recognition and support

As Borg and Chircop continue to advocate for recognition and support for athletes with disabilities, their recent successes, including Malta’s impressive haul of 16 gold medals at the last Special Olympics World Games, highlight what can be achieved with the right support. “These medals are more than awards; they are proof of our commitment, our passion, and our place on the international stage,” Borg reflects.

Their stories are not just about personal victories but about inspiring a community and promoting an inclusive culture in sports that celebrates every athlete’s contribution. As Malta nurtures this environment, the future looks bright for athletes like Borg and Chircop, who are not only champions in their rights but also pioneers advocating for change and inclusion in the world of sports.

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