Special Olympics has strengthened its partnership with the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) following the announcement that one of the SIGA’s first Global Ambassadors will be a Special Olympics athlete from Malta. Last September Gilmour Borg was nominated by the European Commission through SportMalta as ambassador of sport during the European week of sport.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisation, Clifton Grima whilst congratulating Gilmour on his appointment, he stated that Gilmour is an example not just for Maltese youths but for all the country.
Gilmour Borg, aged 16 and from St. Paul’s Bay, took up the role following an official ceremony at the second edition of the SIGA Sport Integrity Forum in Lisbon, Portugal. The forum brought together more than 100 leaders from the world of sport, government, finance, business and civil society to address the most pressing governance and integrity issues facing the sports industry.
As part of the new role, Borg, who is a multi-medal winning athletics athlete, signed an official SIGA ‘pledge’ and committed to support SIGA’s vision and global mission of promoting and preserving the integrity of sport, as well as raising awareness about the role that athletes with intellectual disability can play in promoting a positive sports industry.
Borg spoke at an official reception that also unveiled Portuguese Olympic hero Rosa Mota as another SIGA Global Ambassador. Marathon runner Mota was the first Portuguese woman to win Olympic gold. She will serve as ‘team captain’ to SIGA Global Ambassadors. SIGA plans to involve more Special Olympics athletes in ambassadorial roles around the world.
Speaking at the launch of the new SIGA Global Ambassadors, Borg explained why sport, and in particular Special Olympics, is so important to his life. “Special Olympics is my second family. It’s my second life. Before joining, I was bullied at school, other students looked at me differently, and I was angry and used to take all of my anger out at home.
“No one could control me. I hated myself. This was my life until my parents met with some people from Special Olympics Malta. They showed my parents the Special Olympics Athletes Programme. Special Olympics made me the person I am today. Special Olympics made me feel accepted.”
In front of a large audience, Borg also thanked SIGA for the opportunity the Global Ambassador role offers. “An important message to pass on is that sport helps you improve your strengths and skills. It gives a positive behaviour that helps you feel proud and want to achieve more. SIGA’s support will give us more independence to live a life that is free from discriminations. Through them, we will be able to voice our stories.”
Commenting on the appointment, President & Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, David Evangelista, said: “Special Olympics is honoured to have Gilmour Borg serve as one of SIGA’s first Ambassadors. Representing some 5 million athletes with intellectual disabilities, Gilmour’s message and example embodies the transformative power that sport has to create sustained positive change in the world today. Special Olympics looks forward to its continued collaboration with SIGA in elevating the voice of athletes with intellectual disabilities as part of a shared commitment to see sport be at the service of all who seek its strong benefits.”