New & now
Meet the Maltese wrestler who’s slaying the international game, just like his dad!
Nothing will stop him!

Jillian Mallia

Meet Gary Giordimaina – wrestler, University student, and all-round champ. Gary has been playing sports ever since he was a boy, and started practising wrestling at the age of six.

Speaking to Gary, he lets me in on where his passion for the sport came from, and everything he’s got in the pipeline. “My father was a wrestler, and I watched him participate in international competitions from a young age,” he says. Gary explains that the Maltese wrestling team is like a tight-knit family, it made him take to the sport even more.

gary

Malta Amateur Wrestling Federation / Facebook

“I started practising at six years of age just for fun, especially because there was no one my age for me to train with. But, once I started getting good results, I fell in love with the sport and as I grew older, I started taking it more seriously,” he says. “I take pride in representing my country abroad and flying the Maltese flag high on the podium. Gary explains that he trains every day, and wrestling has become such a huge part of his life that he can't imagine living without it.

gary

Gary Giordimaina / Facebook

What’s freestyle wrestling?

Gary practises what is calling ‘freestyle wrestling,’ a term I’d personally never heard before. “Freestyle wrestling is a very complex sport that requires you to be fit in every possible way,” Gary explains. The training is vast and intense and varies from physical and cardio training to wrestling practice. “Some sessions are highly focused on perfecting my technique and others are more intense as I wrestle with different training partners in different positions and under different pressure situations.”

gary

Malta Amateur Wrestling Federation / Facebook

The U23 European Championship

Gary just got back from competing in the U23 European Championship, which is one of the biggest and toughest tournaments in the world. “Some wrestlers who have competed and done well in these championships a couple of years ago, are now Olympic and World champions and some of the biggest names in the wrestling world.” The preparation for this competition was intense, but luckily Gary had competed in last year’s Junior European Championship which helped to gear up for this year’s competition. Gary admits training and juggling his other commitments does get stressful, especially with his University assignments, exams and long lectures.

gary

Gary Giordimaina / Facebook

Such a competition involves quite a bit of preparation. “I had to make sure I was getting enough rest to be able to perform well during training as well as being on a strict diet to cut down to 57kg.” Gary says this was one of his biggest challenges so far in his wrestling career, but one that definitely helped him grow as a wrestler. “It’s very had to constantly stay in the zone when you have lectures to go to and things to study and assignments to finish, and this is an area I feel I still need to work on.”

What’s in store for Gary?

The experience gained and lessons learned from the championships will be critical in his future successes. “Although I did get a slight injury during this competition, I will be working hard to recover as quickly as possible, as I should be competing again next month in Spain.” Gary should also be competing in Sardinia come May, which is an international ranking tournament attracting the best wrestlers from all over the world including USA, Iran and Japan.

gary

Malta Amateur Wrestling Federation / Facebook

Best of luck champ!

14th March 2019


Jillian Mallia
Written by
Jillian Mallia
A book lover, writer and globetrotter who loves exploring new places and the local gems that the Maltese Islands have to offer. An avid foodie and arts fanatic, Jillian searches the island and beyond for the perfect settings to write about.

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