Ten-year-old athlete Jake Vella told TVM that he will continue to persevere in sport, as sport had saved his life. Jake, who suffers from a very rare condition, was very close to dying, but managed to survive because he is active in sport. Sport Malta has chosen Jake Vella as their ambassador for this year’s Summer on the Move programme.
Despite suffering from a very rare condition known as Rohhadnet Syndrome, Jake Vella is today an inspiration for many. When he was just five years old, Jake’s parents realised that their son was suffering from a condition which saw him putting on weight even if he stuck to a carefully balanced diet. Jake is the only known person in Malta with this condition. Nothing will make him give up, however, and Jake intends continuing to persevere in sport and in the triathlon.
“I like it very much and it has helped me. I was in the ITU in December, and had it not been for my training, I wouldn’t have pulled through.”
Jake is up at 5 every morning, and he’s off to the pool for swimming training, with the never-ending support of his father Josie and his mother Maruska. Both, in fact, ensure their son remains very active in sport, which is what has helped him to survive.
Josie Vella stated that “sport has helped him enormously healthwise, it’s his medicine. The boy doesn’t give up. He is an inspiration to many, both adults and children.”
During the launch of Summer on the Move, Jake also had a message for parents. “The parents tell them to practice sport. It’s important to do something, even at school, as it helps – not just studying.”
Jake Vella has been chosen together with ten-pin bowling champion Tiziana Carrananet as ambassadors for Summer on the Move, which will kick off on 8 July at the sports complexes in Malta and Gozo. Sport Malta Chief Executive Mark Cutajar said this year’s programme will offer some sixty sports disciplines, including football, basketball, gymnastics, martial arts and swimming.
Parliamentary Secretary for Sport Clifton Grima said Government is committed to raise the level of sport with more investment through the national strategy for sport. Grima added that a commission has been set up and is meeting with stakeholders to see how young athletes can excel both locally and at international level.
The application for Summer On the Move 2019 can be downloaded from the official site of SportMalta http://www.sportmalta.org.mt and mailed to SportMalta at the Cottonera Sports Complex, Vjal il-Kottoner, Cospicua BML 9020, or one can apply online on https://www.sportmalta.org.mt/programmes/online-booking-form/. Applications remain open until 14 June.