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Sports Development in the Maltese Islands

The tiny island of Comino and its contribution to Malta sport

With the first six articles in this series focusing on sport development in Malta and the last two on the sporting trends in Gozo, today’s last article will feature on the remaining inhabited island within the Maltese archipelago, Comino.

The miniscule island of Comino, situated between Malta and Gozo, with a mere permanent population of just two residents, has also had its own limited impact on the development of sport in the Maltese Islands.

In 1959 the island was aptly selected as one of the venues for the World Underwater Spearfishing Championships, an event that continued to feature regularly in the local association’s annual calendar.

The construction of the sole hotel on the island in the 1960s also included a restricted number of sport facilities.

These included tennis courts that over the years witnessed a number of training camps and events being organised on the island as well as a small boccidromo for tourists wishing to have a go as part of the hotel’s sport and leisure programme based at Santa Marija Bay. The latter also included a makeshift beach volleyball court. 

Over the years the natural features of the island’s main three bays served as the ideal venue for events related to sailing and canoeing. Such events have been organised both by Maltese and Gozitan entities both on a competitive basis and also solely for leisure.

Similarly, climbing events are regularly organised around the island’s most scenic landscapes including at Ras l-Imnieri. L-Għar tal-Mazz and L-Imkebba. The spectacular backdrop often attracts both locals and visiting tourists who dare navigate themselves from such heights.

Chess on Comino is a regular annual event organised by Stella Maris College for students forming part of its own Chess Club. This event is normally organised in July at Comino Hotel.

More recently the island witnessed an innovative approach towards sport that included an open sea waterpolo Masters tournament, held for the first time at Blue Lagoon in 2018.

This event continues to be organised annually with the venue alternating with San Niklaw Bay.

Organised by Xterra Malta and supported by the Malta Airport Foundation, the Comino Swim-Run was the first sporting challenge of its kind to make waves with the local athletic community in September 2018.

The Comino Swim-Run saw no less than 144 participants pair up to swim for a total stretch of 2 kilometres in the waters surrounding the island and run for another eight kilometres.

Gozitan triathlon club TriGozo has also organised events on and around the island for its members, including its young and aspiring triathletes. These have been held since the club’s foundation in 2018.

Despite being one of the world’s smallest states, as widely evidenced, the Maltese Islands have a unique sporting history that has practically been spread to all of its towns and villages in a manner that sport plays an important role in daily community life including at school level where Physical Education forms an important part of the curriculum.

A high number of stakeholders, mostly still running the show on voluntary basis, continue to strive day in, day out, at times against all financial odds, to upkeep the legacy that was handed over to them in their own quest to provide a solid foundation for their respective sporting discipline to continue to thrive both in terms of participation and also at achieving creditable results on the international scene.

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