In­spi­ra­tional Mal­colm

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

mo­ment. Be­cause of this I was given the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the Go4Re­search pro­gram, which has en­abled me to do an in­tern­ship pro­gram at the Uni­ver­sity of Malta and fo­cus on Stat­ics in the Depart­ment of Maths and Physics. The best feel­ing from all this though was prov­ing that ath­letes can not only fo­cus on their sport, but also on their aca­demics and do well in both.

Right now I have just re­ceived my O-Level re­sults. I feel very pos­i­tive for my aca­demic fu­ture as I man­aged to get very good re­sults notwith­stand­ing the fact that I did not miss a sin­gle train­ing ses­sion. Now I will be at­tend­ing Ju­nior Col­lege and con­cen­trate on my Alevels, af­ter which I will de­cide whether to con­tinue my stud­ies in Malta or abroad.

Mal­colm, your school em­braces the dual ca­reer path and you are the per­fect ex­am­ple of com­bin­ing stud­ies with sports. To make it harder, Triathlon is one of the most ar­du­ous sports ever. It de­mands men­tal and phys­i­cal strength but time con­sum­ing too. You need to master three dis­ci­plines: Swim­ming, cy­cling and run­ning. How do you clas­sify them ac­cord­ing to your abil­i­ties? How did you man­age all this? Tell us how is it a week in your life as a triath­lete and a stu­dent? As in ev­ery­thing, there is room for im­prove­ment, which ar­eas do you think you need most to bet­ter?

Triathlon is in fact a very tough sport. It is an en­durance sport in which you have to train three very dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines, swim­ming, cy­cling and run­ning. A typ­i­cal race for my age con­sists of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km rum and takes roughly over an hour, so be­sides be­ing phys­i­cally fit, you have to be men­tally strong to keep on go­ing even when you feel that you can­not go on any more. How­ever, hav­ing three sports to train means that one can never re­ally get bored do­ing triathlon.

I roughly train eight ses­sions per week, some­times hav­ing mul­ti­ple ses­sions in one day, with one day be­ing my rest day. Ses­sions held dur­ing the week are roughly be­tween one to two hours depend­ing on the type of ses­sion. How­ever week­end ses­sions usu­ally take up all morn­ing. As­sign­ments and study­ing will have to fit in be­tween school and train­ing. When I am on a tight sched­ule and un­der pres­sure, I tend to work more ef­fi­ciently and some­times even bet­ter!

Be­sides par­tic­i­pat­ing in mul­ti­sport races, I also do sin­gle sport races. These help me gauge my im­prove­ment in each sport on its own. I do be­lieve that run­ning is my forte. In my last 5k road race I have man­aged to clock 17:12, achiev­ing a 10th over­all place among some of the best run­ners on the is­land. I was the youngest com­peti­tor and ran with ath­letes from all ages. This is an achieve­ment con­sid­er­ing that I only prac­tice run­ning two times a week.

I think that out of all three, swim­ming re­quires the most sac­ri­fice from my part. It is not be­cause of the sport it­self, but be­cause I love to sleep in late when­ever I can and love to drag ev­ery minute that I can be­fore I get out of bed. Un­for­tu­nately, for swim­ming I have to wake up at 5am in the morn­ing in or­der to do my train­ing ses­sion be­fore school. In win­ter, the weather also plays its part.

Cy­cling was un­til re­cently my weak­est sport in triathlon. In or­der to im­prove it, I started to take part in the cy­cling cham­pi­onship. This has helped me im­prove much and progress fur­ther in the sport.

Even though I am do­ing very well in triathlon, I must ad­mit that there is a lot of room for im­prove­ment in all three dis­ci­plines. I al­ways try to listen to my coaches and peo­ple who re­ally mean well. As one of the youngest on the triathlon scene, be­sides hav­ing to im­prove in the three dis­ci­plines, I am still quite in­ex­pe­ri­enced when it comes to the more dif­fi­cult races. There are race tac­tics that you have to try and see what works out best for you. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that there is al­ways some­one who is ready to give a tip or a word of ad­vice. It is not the first time that other coaches or other more ex­pe­ri­enced ath­letes share their ex­pe­ri­ence or point of view about their race and mine, and this I truly ap­pre­ci­ate.

You are a MOC Elite Ath­lete, you are highly con­sid­ered by both the Malta Triathlon Fed­er­a­tion and the Cy­cling Fed­er­a­tion where they sent you twice and once re­spec­tively on train­ing camps abroad. Hav­ing MOC and two fed­er­a­tions be­hind you at the age of 15 is al­ready a mas­sive feat by it­self. This year, notwith­stand­ing that you had the O level ex­ams, you com­peted in The Eurosport Na­tional Duathlon Cham­pi­onship 2018. You won 1st place U20 and 4th Over­all. I think this is the best achieve­ment so far but which speaks vol­umes. Apart from this, I can add the en­dorse­ments un­der­neath by the Head of School and the Coach where they trust you blindly. How do you ex­plain such blind trust in your favour from so many en­ti­ties and per­sons where in to­day s life, trust has be­come some­thing rare?

I must ad­mit that I feel hon­oured with the trust so many peo­ple have in me. How­ever, for each sec­ond of im­prove­ment in my time, there is a team of peo­ple be­hind me. I do not con­sider my

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