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Games of the Small States of Europe

Watch: 2023 GSSE underway following spectacular Opening Ceremony

The Malta contingent walks through the GSSE opening parade. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The 2023 Games of the Small States of Europe got underway on Monday with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Floriana Granaries.

Over 1,000 athletes from nine different countries took part in the ceremony that had the athletes at its heart.

The athletes’ parade provided a cheerful and colourful backdrop for those present with the biggest roar of the crowd coming for Team Malta which was led by tennis player Elaine Genovese and track and field sprinter Matthew Galea Soler who carried Malta’s flag.

Team Malta captain Eleonor Bezzina was given the onus of reading the athletes’ oath while Mario Bonello and David Bonello read the oaths for coaches and officials respectively.

Another highlight of the night was the lighting up of the Olympic flame which saw athletes from different areas of sport taking part in the torch relay.

In fact, the torch relay saw the participation of special olympics athlete Nicole Caruana, paralympian Maya Theuma, former sailing GSSE medallist Mario Aquilina, shooter William Chetcuti, bowler Sue Abela who passed the torch to GSSE legends Helen Asciak and Carol Cassar Torregiani, gold medallists in the Malta GSSE in 1993 who went on to lit up the flame amid an ecstatic crowd.

Former tennis players Carol Cassar Torregiani (left) and Helen Asciak holding the Olympic torch. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Other athletes who took part in the ceremony where Nicole Caruana, Johanna Grech, Marcon Bezzina, Katya Pace and Diane Borg who carried the flags of Malta and the Games of the Small States of Europe.

During the ceremony, Julian Pace Bonello, president of the Maltese Olympic Committee, Sports Minister Dr Clifton Grima, Spyros Capralos, the EOC president, before Prime Minister Robert Abela declared the Games open.

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