Martial arts practiced on a wheelchair is a new concept for Malta. However, this sport did not keep Nick Mercieca from starting training in karate when he was only 5-years old. Now, 12-year old Nick was the only Maltese athlete who competed abroad in para-karate.
Sensei Joe Tanti, who runs the La Salle Karate Club within the Maltese Karate Federation, remembers Nick watching his elder brother during lessons and the occasion provided him with passion for the sport.
Initially, he says, that Nick was not comfortable using the wheels on the carpet, until 7 years ago a benefactor came along and assisted in purchasing a wheelchair used only at the gym.
“He always impressed us with new things we did at home and came here to demonstrate his skills”, Sensei Tanti added.
Using his powerful hands, Nick does exercises which are even difficult for adult athletes. “Nick has a golden heart; he works hard and the first time he entered on the tatami, were were really impressed. He did exercises that other children took a month to do”, coach Mizzi said.
A few months ago, Nick was the first Maltese athlete to participate in the para-karate championships in Belgium, where he achieved a good result.
Nick considers karate as part of his life and hopes that he will teach the martial arts to other children in the future. He delivers a message to other children who use a wheelchair: “Go for it and do what you love most”.
ARA: Jinżel mis-siġġu tar-roti u jgħaġġeb lil kulħadd