Crossing the Gozo-Malta channel might not seem like a big deal for Neil Agius, who this summer swam 100 kilometres from Sicily to St Julian’s.

But will the endurance swimmer be able to pull his friend Michel L J Galea all the way to shore on a stand-up paddleboard in cold December seas?

If he manages, Galea, known as Mixu, will have two months to lose 10 kilos.

The Obesity Swim Challenge will take place on December 19, and Galea will add a bit of Christmas cheer by donning a Santa Claus robe throughout the event.

While the location and timing of the challenge will remain undisclosed to avoid crowding, the duo is encouraging others to take up the challenge and lose weight.

Galea's weight loss challenge will start on January 2 and his lifestyle change will be documented on social media by Wave of Change Malta. 

The movement was founded by Agius in a bid to inspire and support people in Malta to leave an impact on the environment.

Through its events, campaigns, and challenges, it raises awareness about issues such as pollution, obesity, and inclusion.

Agius, a swimming coach and Olympian, was recently recognised by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as the 151st Commonwealth Point of Light, in honour of his “exceptional voluntary service” advocating for plastic-free seas.

But how will fighting obesity help the environment?

“Taking care of the environment starts with taking care of yourself. If we want people to care for the environment, their friends and relatives, they need to care for themselves first,” he told Times of Malta

Neil is also urging people who take up the challenge to do their bit for the environment and pick up trash when they go out for a walk as part of their weight loss efforts.

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