The Maltese Olympic Committee hosted the 19th MOC Sports Gala Awards on Wednesday night.
The awards ceremony recognised athletes’ endeavours for the past two years which saw Malta being represented in numerous international events.
MOC president Julian Pace Bonello commended the dedication and commitment that Team Malta athletes have shown, particularly when faced with the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic which hindered training and competitive activity.
Nonetheless, he remarked that this year, Maltese athletes shone in all the three major Games – Mediterranean, Commonwealth and European Youth Olympic Festival, bringing coveted medals home.
Present for the gala was the Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, Dr Clifton Grima, who noted the importance that prestigious achievements done by our athletes on the international scene are recognised.
“These successes are a result of the dedication and sacrifices made by our athletes which are leading them to remarkable results both in locally and internationally,” said Minister Grima.
He also acknowledged the work being done by the MOC with the preparation of the athletes for the Games of the Small States of Europe which will take place next year.
“We are investing directly in our athletes so that we continue to see this kind of success also in these games.”
The Gold Award was the highest accolade presented on the night.
Among the winners for 2021 were track and field runner Jordan Gusman who produced an impressive performance to win the 3,000 meters race in the European Team Championships held in Cyprus, setting not only a national record but also achieved the best time in all four divisions of the European Team Championships Teams, including the Super League.
Sailor Richard Schulteis was also recognised after his impressive victory in the 29er division at the Euro Cup, Italy’s and Germany nationals as well as placing second at the world championships.
The other recipients for the gold award for 2021 were the Valletta Subbuteo Club and Sabrina Grima (Body Building and Fitness).
Judoka Katryna Esposito was among the gold award winners for 2022 after her bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, which also include Clifferty Calleja (horse racing), European bowling champion Sue Abela, tennis duo Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese, winner of a silver medal at the Mediterranean Games, as well as weightlifter Tenishia Thornton gold medallist at the World Youth Championship and European Youth Championships.
In addition to the awards, the Maltese Olympic Committee recognised Olympian Neil Agius (Swimming) and former national athlete (Triathlon) Fabio Spiteri who made use of their respective disciplines to create awareness on the threat marine life and biodiversity are facing and to raise funds for local animal sanctuaries, respectively.
Hall of fame
During the night, former MOC general secretary Joseph Cassar was presented with a Hall of Fame Special Award as a token of appreciation for his decades of service to the Maltese Olympic Committee.
The gala evening culminated in the induction of three individuals into the Hall of Fame.
This year’s inductees were Francis Bugeja, who worked tirelessly for more than 50 years in the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association first as a secretary then president.
The other recipients were sports journalist Mario Meli, who from a young age was involved in several sporting disciplines and was also athletics champion in the 800m and 1500m events, and John Tabone, who was a founding member of Luxol Basketball Club and coached the sport for over 40 years.
J. Zammit (athletics); S. Gatt (swimming), U-15 men’s waterpolo team; Haley Bugeja (football); M. Rajab (bodybuilding); V. Schulteis, M. Koerner (sailing), K. Sultana, L. Sultana; J. Scerri (squash), J. Balzan, J. Bonnici (table football); K. Lagana, N. Mallia, N. Muscat, M. Spiteri, D. Zahra (bowling), T. Thornton (weightlifting); Z. Montfort, E. Ruggier (artistic swimming); U-16 men’s waterpolo team; U-19 men’s waterpolo team; F. Clark, M. Clark, J. Gatt (badminton); D. Bonello, J. Schembri (cycling); Siġġiewi Rowing Club, M. Scerri (taekwondo), K. Azzopardi (triathlon).
Claire Azzopardi, Sarah Busuttil, Carla Scicluna, Charlotte Wingfield; Steve Camilleri, Dillon Cassar, Matthew Galea Soler, Beppe Grillo, B. Micallef, D. Saliba, R. Schembri (all athletics), A. Culic (artistic swimming, L. Abraz (body building), J. Vella (cycling), N. Beck (golf), D. Conti (table football), women’s tennis national team; senior waterpolo men’s national team; golf national team; R. Gatt (horse racing), G. Giordmaina (wrestling), A. Magro, S. Muscat, R. Pisani (pool); M. Attard (shooting), M. Anastasi, R. Camilleri, M. Swift (all bowling), men’s tennis national team, Y. Zammit Stevens (weightlifting).
P. Dalli (athletics), D. Bezzina, P. Ciantar (snooker), M.C. Aquilina, men’s national team (cycling), Men’s golf national team, A. Schulteis, V. Schulteis (sailing), S. Bartolo, M. Gauci, J. Pisani (table football); K. Arpa, C. Duca, T. Carranante, D. Mercieca, M. Magro (bowling); men’s basketball national team, C. Azzopardi, J. Richard, C. Scicluna, C. Wingfield (athletics); L. Galea (karate), D. Grech (pool); C. Farrugia (shooting), Valletta Subbuteo Club; K. Camilleri Lagana (weightlifting); mixed weightlifting national team.
J. Gusman (athletics), S. Grima (bodybuilding), R. Schulteis (sailing), Valletta Subbuteo Club, K. Esposito (judo), C. Calleja (horse racing), S. Abela (bowling), F. Curmi, E. Genovese (tennis), T. Thornton (weightlifting).
C. Scicluna (athletics), A. Chetcuti (swimming), S. Gatt (swimming), M. Abela (badminton), E. Bezzina (target shooting), Y. Zammit Stevens (weightlifting)
N. Agius (swimming), F. Spiteri (triathlon).
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