The recently founded Jonathan Chetcuti Program, founded by Jonathan Dalli, Elaine Bonello and Gege Gatt, in the name of the late Jonathan Chetcuti, is supporting a young sailor in his career for growth and excellence in the sailing world. Richard Schultheis is the first young athlete being supported by the program.
Jonathan Dalli has led The Concept Stadium as CEO since he co-founded the agency in 2010. The Creative Marketing Agency is a local market leader with a number of Commercial Creatives on-board, making it an award-winning creative & boutique branding, web, and integrated marketing & communications strategy outfit.
Dalli did not found The Concept Stadium alone, he did it hand in hand with his co-Founder and now Guardian Angel of the agency Jonathan Chetcuti. Jonathan Chetcuti who unfortunately died in 2020, was a passionate sports lover excelling in tennis and volleyball. He spent more than half his life playing competitive volleyball, obtaining more than 100 caps with the Malta National Volleyball team, of which he was captain from 2003 to 2012. During his career he won all top personal and team honours with three different teams. Jon lost a hard fought battle to illness in May 2020, passing away aged 41.
The start of The Jonathan Chetcuti Program
A year after his death, Dalli wanted to ensure that whatever happens, Jon’s name would be remembered and that’s why together with Elaine Bonello, Jon’s wife and life partner and Gege Gatt, Jon’s childhood friend, The Jonathan Chetcuti Program was founded.
Jon believed that sports was the foundation for life and in fact, he always described sports as “the university of my life”. Through sports he learnt the principles of dedication, determination, discipline, respect, camaraderie and above all how crucial it is to have fun. Apart from co-founding The Concept Stadium, and agency that lives on through his and Dalli’s dedication and hard work, Jon was privileged to have represented Malta three times at the Games of the Small Nations of Europe (Lichtenstein 1999, San Marino 2001, Malta 2003); and twice during the European Volleyball Championships (Malta 1998, Andorra 2002); an honour he deeply cherished.
“We want Jon’s memory to live on in the careers of young athletes such as Richard” – Jonathan Dalli
Asking Dalli the reason behind the start of The Jonathan Chetcuti program, he explained to Yachting.mt that: “essentially because like Jon, we want to practice what we preach. We don’t want to say that we support CSR efforts; but that we support an initiative in practice. Sport was of particular importance for us because of what it meant to Jon; and it was the mutual love for sport between myself and Jon that has led to the inception of The Concept Stadium in the first place.”
One of Jonathan’s lifelong dreams was the setting up of a facility to help young athletes realize their potential, hone their talent, push themselves further and make their country proud. While Jonathan’s life may have been cut short, his principles outlive him, in the various initiatives he spearheaded and in those around him. The Jonathan Chetcuti Program will keep Jonathan’s legacy alive and fulfill his dream to give back.
A young sailor is the first athlete supported by The Jonathan Chetcuti Program
The Jonathan Chetcuti Program selected Richard Schultheis, a young sailor, as the first athlete to benefit from its funds. Asked why the first athlete chosen was in fact a sailor, Dalli explained that: “as promoters and donors of the program, we left this to the Maltese Olympic Committee to indicate an athlete from a discipline that is close to heart for Jon and myself. We both had a love for sailing and we both supported teams during the America’s Cup. Additionally, Jon was also an avid photographer, and in fact, he took a personal interest in shooting The Rolex Middle Sea Race locally; as well as other events.”
Young Sailor Richard Schultheis hails from a family of sailors and experienced skippers and has made a name for himself from a young age when he started sailing in the Optimist Class 2012 at the age of 7. Since then, he has garnered an ever-increasing list of international success. More recently, in 2019, apart from winning all local regattas, he claimed several podium places on an international level, the most prestigious being a Silver medal in the Optimist World Championships held in Antigua. Following that success, he moved onto the double handed 29er Class competing in several competitions.
In October 2019, he took part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, as co-skipper of the Xp-44 yacht Xp-act, which placed 7th overall. In 2020 he won all international 29er regattas like Kiel Week, EuroCup, German Nationals and Italian Nationals and continued his successful streak by dominating the 2020 Wazsp Foiling Week held in Fraglia Vela Malcesine and winning the overall regatta. His goals for the next few years is the transition to 49erFX, thereafter he will focus his attention towards the Olympic campaign in 49er Class.
Asked in which ways the program is helping Richard, Dalli explained that the program aims to support Richard through a financial contribution for the next couple of years; until the Games of the Small States of Europe that will take place in Malta in 2023.