By Matthew Abela
It was always a dream for me as a badminton player, part of the Badminton Malta Academy, to train and compete as a professional. Having the opportunity to be part of Badminton Europe’s Centre of Excellence was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime. After three and a half years living and training full time at the training centre in Holbaek, Denmark, I have successfully completed my training course. It has been an experience that I will never forget and from which I have learned so much. This experience was very beneficial for me, not just in badminton terms but it has also helped me to grow and mature as a person. During this course I have been lucky to train and compete with top level athletes under the guidance of Internationally qualified badminton coaches. When I first started back in 2017, I had to work a lot on my technique and also on the tactics of the game. It took a while till I saw any progress but eventually, I started to see an improvement. During these last three years I was also lucky to have played in a lot of international tournaments which helped me improve my ranking position. A few achievements I have accomplished were 3 semi-finals (1 International Series & 2 Future Series) and qualifying for two European Championships.
All this has been possible thanks to the Malta Sports Scholarship Scheme, this scheme has helped me immensely financially by funding my stay at the Centre of Excellence. Thanks to this Scheme many Maltese athletes like myself are able to fulfil their dreams and improve in their respective sport. I would therefore like to express my sincere gratitude to this scheme, which together with support of Sportmalta, the Maltese Olympic Committee and Badminton Malta, made this dream possible.