This is Felix Wetzel who won a gold medal for Malta in table tennis. Felix is from Germany, has no connection with Malta and doesn’t live in Malta, and was imported specifically for the Games of the small states of Europe.
This is not an attack on Felix Wetzel, of course. I’m using him as an example because I was criticised that some of the athletes who were imported had a connection with Malta, but clearly, some of them don’t.
Call me old-fashioned, but I never thought that my country could be represented in international sports events by direct imports. I would have imagined that foreigners competing under Malta’s flag would have been naturalised Maltese citizens either by living in Malta or by marriage. And I always thought that one of the points of these international games is to show national soft power by proving to the world that your nation can build strong and winning athletes. Going to the market and buying athletes for international competitions is sad and ruins the point of these games.
International sports events have always been events that project the clout and power of a nation. By winning medals with direct imports there is no glory, only the admission that your country is a failed state.