Date of Birth: 8th January, 1987
Star Sign: Capricorn
Media-related occupation: Weightlifting
Kyle Micallef has been involved in sport from a very young age. His main focus was football when he was younger, and was lucky enough to form part of the Malta National Youth teams from Under 14 to Under 18.
In 2014, Kyle started competing locally in weightlifting. Having seen vast improvements over the past years, he’s made it his main sport, which led him to the prestigious opportunity of competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Image: IWF – International Weightlifting Federation
What sacrifices are involved to become a successful weightlifter?
Weightlifting is a sport which takes a lot of time to develop. You have to be willing to work through the fatigue, tiredness and pain in order to succeed. Your life revolves around training and recovering, especially when leading up to a competition. There are usually two sessions a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In between sessions, you’re trying to cram in eating and sleeping to regain your strength.
You’ve just become the first weightlifter to represent Malta in the Olympics in the 85Kg category. What can you tell us about the whole experience?
Weightlifting is a pretty harsh sport when it comes to competitions. Your whole training cycle leads up to one specific day. The day of the competition is always a final. There are no second chances to improve your results. It was a great learning experience to be up on the platform with the best lifters in the world. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue improving my results in the future.
Photo of Kyle Micallef by: Milos Stanisavljevic
How would you promote weightlifting to younger generations?
Weightlifting is not only a sport in which you build strength and speed, but also character. It teaches you how to mentally overcome challenges, how to set a goal in your mind and work hard towards that goal. You learn how to push yourself in ways you thought you couldn’t, especially when you’re tired after weeks of training. Mentally, you have to overcome that obstacle and keep on pushing because in the end, the final product is the greatest feeling; when you lift a weight you thought was physically impossible.
You qualified for the Rio Olympics after winning your battle against testicular cancer, which has truly rendered you an inspiration to many other sufferers. What advice would you give to them?
I was lucky enough to catch it early which made my process a lot easier. What I’d like to tell people is not to let it win the mental battle. Stay positive and good things will happen. Get yourself checked on a regular basis, because you never know what your body is doing on the inside.
What area do you feel requires the most discipline in this sport?
Weightlifting is more of a mental battle than a physical one. You have to go into each session and into each lift at 100%, or the weight will win every time.
Photo of Kyle Micallef above by: IWF – International Weightlifting Federation
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I hope that the sport will have grown in popularity, and that I’ll be on the sideline teaching young lifters this great sport.