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Games of the Small States of Europe

GSSE 2023 Day 4: Men’s squash team rack up record 49th medal with gold in team event

Janet Richard won the gold medal in the 400 metres. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Gold in table tennis, athletics and swimming

Team Malta has rewritten the history books in the Games of the Small States of Europe as after only two days of competition, the hosts are already assured of recording their best-ever performance in these Games after winning 12 gold medals so far. On Thursday, there are much more gold medals at stake so stay with us to follow Team Malta’s charge for more indelible moments…

That’s it for today, thank you for staying with us and we hope that you will be again with us tomorrow to witness another day of medal-winning performances from the Maltese athletes. Good night.

20.50 Unfortunately we end the day on a negative note in basketball. A heartbreaking finale for Malta as they fell 78-75 to Luxembourg with the death blow coming very late in the fourth quarter after a very good performance from Malta’s men. They are now 1-2 in the opening stages so far.

20.30 The men’s basketball team have taken an important three-point lead against Luxembourg in the fourth and final quarter – 71-68.

20.15 That squash success was one of the highlights of the day and here we have the reaction of one of the heroes of the day, Daniel Zammit Lewis who spoke to Gianluca Lia.

20.10 The men’s basketball team are currently in action against Luxembourg, and the match is evenly balanced with both teams tied at 58-all.

The Malta men’s squash team celebrate their win at Marsa. Photo: Jonathan Borg

19.35 SQUASH GOLD… The men’s team won gold after they beat Liechtenstein in the final 3-1.

19.25 But Luxembourg come from behind in the fourth to win it 14-12 and secure the title. The Maltese duo have to settle for silver.

19.20 Team Malta pulled one back and lead in the fourth set.

19.15 The men’s doubles table tennis final is not going to plan as Luxembourg are leading by two sets to nil. They are currently 4-2 up in the third set.

19.05 MEDALS RECORD REACHED…. Claire Azzopardi and Rebecca Sare completed a memorable double in the women’s triple jump to secure Team Malta’s 45th medal in the 2023 GSSE.

This is the highest number of medals ever reached by Malta, elipsing the previous best attained in Malta 2003 when we finished with 44.

Iacob Camella in action in the women’s table tennis final. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

18.55 THEY HAVE DONE IT. Stribkova and Iacob have won the decider 11-9 to win the doubles title and increase Malta’s gold medal tally to 18.

18.54 MATCH POINT FOR MALTA…Iacob and Stribkova are one point away – leading 10-8.

18.50 The women’s doubles final will go down to wire as the Luxembourg double incredibly recovered from 2-0 down to level 2-2 after winning set four – 11-9.

18.40 Strbikova and Iacob fail to close out the match in straight sets as Kristinardottir Mixa and Tasic took the third set 11-9. But if the Maltese win the next set, they will clinch gold.

18.30 The women’s table tennis team are one touch away from gold medal glory after going two sets up in their final. Renata Strbikova and Camella Iacob took the second set 11-7 against Luxembourg’s Kristinardottir Mixa and Tasic.

18.20 Good start in women’s doubles final in table tennis. Renata Strbikova and Camella Iacob went serving first and took the first set against Luxembourg’s Kristinardottir Mixa and Tasic 11-5.

18.05 Another medal from the swimming team as the 4×100 women medley relay formed by Victoria Balderacchi Georgia Bohl, Nirvana Micallef and Mya Azzopardi took bronze in 4.18.69.

18.01 Malta is vying for a double-double in table tennis as the men’s doubles team composed by Dimitrij Prokopcov and Felix Wetzel, easily disposed of the Montenegrian duo Radovic/Radulovic 3-0 in the doubles semi-finals.

Thus Malta would feature in both finals after earlier on the Malta duo Renata Strbikova and Camella Iacob easily beat Montenegro pair Perovic/Petric 3-1.

So, two silver medals are guaranteed. Yet, the Maltese are going for gold.

Gina McNamara won the 1,500 metres race. Here is shed is seen winning the 800m on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

17.53 GOLD IN 1,500 Gina McNamara has won her second gold medal at the 2023 GSSE when she won the 1,500m race in emphatic style.

McNamara finished in a time of four minutes 36.81 seconds while young Mireya Bugeja took silver in 4.43.71.

17.35 Medals are set to continue and we could have even more gold as in table tennis the Maltese women’s pairing of Renata Strbikova and Camella Iacob easily beat Montenegro pair Perovic/Petric 3-1.

This morning, they qualified from their group by defeating the Islandic couple Kristinardottir Mixa/ Tasic 3-0 and the Luxembourg team made of Barbosa/Goneringer 3-1.

17.30 Medals keep flowing for Team Malta as Jared Micallef has secured a bronze medal in the 1,500m event.

Janet Richard stormed to the 400m gold at the Matthew Micallef St John track. Photo: Jonathan Borg

17.20 More joy for Team Malta as at the Matthew Micallef St John track Janet Richard stormed to the gold medal in the 400 metres when clocking a time of 53.51 seconds.

17.15 Georgia Bohl secured the second gold medal for Team Malta in swimming today when topping the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1.09.49

Georgia Bohl won gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

17.10 Swimmer Kyle Micallef produced a stunning swim in the 50 metres freestyle to strike gold in a time of 22.68. This is the first time Malta has won a gold medal in this distance.

17.08 GOLD MEDAL RUSH ALERT Team Malta is on fire as in the last five minutes Maltese athletes have won three gold medals.

17.04 In table tennis, the women’s doubles semi-finals are under way with the Maltese pairing of Iacob and Strbikova are level with Montenegro duo Perovic and Petric but are leading in the third set 8-4.

16.53 SILVER IN 400m… Graham Pellegrini won a silver medal in the 400m when he dashed home second in a time of 46.83 seconds. The gold medal was won by Monaco by Teo Andant who crossed the finish line in a new Games record of 45.81 metres.

Matthew Galea Soler was fifth in a new personal best of 48.31 seconds.

16.30 Jeremy Zammit grabs silver… The young athlete serves the best for last with a jump of 7.28m to go behind the Cypriot long jumper. It was an exceptional result from Zammit who was competing visibly not in the best physical condition.

Zammit’s effort means that Malta will secure silver and bronze from the event.

16.22 Grech strengthens grip on silver… Ian Paul Grech has put himself in a strong position to win silver with a jump of 6.86m.

Jeremy Zammit won a silver medal in the long jump event. Photo: Jonathan Borg

16.00 Back at the athletics track at Marsa as Jeremy Zammit and Ian Paul Grech are in action in the long jump.

At the moment, Zammit is second with a jump of 6.73cm while Ian Paul Grech is fifth on 6.47 metres.

Antreas Michallekides, of Cyprus, is leading the way on 7.22

15.52 MATCH POINT CYPRUS… as Genovese goes wide. And Cyprus take their first chance as Constantinou plants a forehand on the line to seal 14-12 win and the Maltese pair will have to settle for bronze.

15.51 THIRD MATCH-POINT Malta but yet again Cyprus annull after Asciak hits his shot into the net.

15.50 SECOND MATCH POINT MALTA… Genovese brings a second match point with a fine lob – 11-10. But again Constantinou comes to Cyprus rescue to level the match.

15.48 Match-point Neos goes long on her return to hand Asciak and Genovese match point – 10-9. But a Constantinou ace levels the breaker.

15.45 But the Cypriots fought back strongly with Constantinou winning two successive points to bring match point – 9-7. Neos, however, scuffs the first when her shot hits the net – 9-8 and then a fine volley from Genovese level this tie-break.

The Maltese pair look on song and two successive points have seen them level the match at 7-all.

15.40 Back to tennis and Maltese pair Matthew Asciak and Elaine Genovese have a tough fight on their hands to reach the final as they are trailing Cypriot duo Constantinou and Neos 5-3 in the decisive tie-breaker after both pairs won a set each

Nicolai Bonello in action in the men’s pole vault.

15.40 The second day of the athletics competition got under way at Marsa.

First up for Team Malta was Nicolai Bonello in the men’s pole vault. The young athlete cleared 4.40m but then tried to clear 4.50m but failed and was eliminated.

15.30 The judo competitions come to an end today when the team competition is being played at the National Sports School. The men’s team were beaten by Luxembourg 2-1 but are still in the running for a medal as they face Monaco for the bronze medal at 4pm.

The women’s team suffered a 2-1 defeat to Luxembourg and are too in with a chance for the bronze medal as they were awarded a walk-over by Cyprus and will now take on Monaco for bronze.

15.00 A tough opening for Malta in the mixed doubles event so far as Matthew Axiak and Elaine Genovese have suffered a 6-4 defeat in the first set against Cyprus.

14.34 Malta is currently playing in the mixed doubles tennis event with Matthew Axiak and Elaine Genovese playing Cyprus.

14.05 Mattija Pecotic is Malta’s latest finalist! an impressive showing from the Malta tennis player as he dominated Cypriot opponent Petros Chrysochos, winning the tie 6-0, 6-0. He will now have to wait for a winner between Cyprus’ Stylianos Christodoulou and Monaco’s Lucas Catarina.

13.37 Matija Pecotic makes headway in his semifinal of the tennis singles event against Petros Chrysochos, winning the first set with an impressive 6-0.

Matthew Grech. Video: Valhmor Camilleri

13.35 After Matthew Grech’s Gold a few minutes ago, Malta’s medal tally climbs up to 33 at these Games. 12 medals stand in the way of breaking the country’s overall record.

13.30 So close for Malta’s 3×3 women in their Bronze medal game against Cyprus but the Cypriots take a 15-14 win, an identical scoreline to their previous meeting on Wednesday. Both men and women bow out of the competition’s debut at the GSSE.

Matthew Grech and William Chetcuti (left) are leading the way in the double trap competition. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

13.18 GOLD FOR MALTA! Malta’s first medal of the day comes in the men’s double trap competition as Matthew Grech secured a fantastic victory with 110 hits out of 120 clays. Malta veteran shooter William Chetcuti made it a one-two finish with 102 hits to secure the SILVER medal.

13.13 As we wait for further updates, here’s a quick statistic. After securing her place in the tennis women’s singles final, Francesca Curmi will be sure to add to her silver medal won back in 2019 when the Malta tennis player won Silver.

12.55 Players make their final preparations as Matija Pecotic faces Cypriot Petros Chrysochos in the men’s semifinal, match to start in a few minutes.

12.41 FINAL! Malta’s Francesca Curmi beat Maria Weckerle 6-2, 6-1 in the women’s singles semifinals which means Malta is now assured of at least a silver medal at these games. Curmi will now face Andorra’s Victoria Jimenez as Elaine Genovese plays Weckerle for Bronze.

12.30 The third round of the men’s double trap competition comes to an end as Matthew Grech finishes with 29 hits from 30 clays (84 in total) – dominant so far – with William Chetcuti in second with a total of 77.

11.30 William Chetcuti has finally turned on the style in the double trap competition as the GSSE multi-gold medallist put on a strong showing in the second round of the competition.

The Manikata-born shooter hit 29 from 30 clays to move up to second in the standings on 52 clays. He is trailing his team-mate Matthew Grech who has put on another strong showing in the second round, hitting 29 to lead the way with 58 clays. Things look good for Team Malta ahead of the final this afternoon.

11.25 In tennis, Elaine Genovese’s run in the singles event is over after she lost to Andorran player Victoria Jimenez.

Jimenez was in a class of her own as he won the match 6-2 6-1.

11.15 Huge news from squash. Malta has done it… they are through to gold medal final of the team even when Daniel Stahl won his singles match to hand Malta a 3-1 win.

It was a nail-biting victory for the Maltese player, who after losing the first set managed to level the match when taking the second in a tie break.

In the decider, there was little separating both players, but it was Stahl who prevailed 13-11 to send the team to this evening’s gold medal final against Liechtenstein.

10.55 Stahl has kept his nerves as the match went into a tie-break and with the Luxembourg player moving 11-10 ahead, the Maltese player fought back to win the next three points to secure the set and level the match at one set all

10.50 In squash, the semi-final between Malta and Luxembourg is turning out to be a thriller. In fact after wins for Brad Hindle Deguara and Kijan Sultana had given Malta a 2-0 lead, Daniel Zammit Lewis lost his singles match to give their opponents a glimmer of hope.

At the moment, Duncan Stahl is trailing in his singles match 1-0 and is tied at 9-all in the second set.

10.45 Jimenez is in control against Genovese as the Andorran player has broken the Maltese player for a second time and is now leading 5-2 and just one game away from the first set.

10.30 In tennis Elaine Genovese is in action in the women’s singles semi-final against the strong Andorran player Victoria Jimenez.

The Maltese player is facing a tough fight as she was broken by Jimenez in the third game of the first set and is trailing 3-1. But for Genovese there is still time to recover.

10.20 Action has also started in the Ta’ Kandja shooting ranges as the double trap competition got under way with the first 30 clays shot by the six participants. Malta is being represented by veteran William Chetcuti, winner of several gold medals in this discipline and Matthew Grech.

After the first round, it is Grech who is leading the way after hitting 26 from 30.

Gian Marco Berti of San Marino is second on 24, while Chetcuti is in third place on 23 with Lydon Sosa of Luxembourg, fourth on 22.

10.15 An update from squash as Kijan Sultana has taken the lead against Amam Samiri, 2-1, and is one set away from giving the men’s team a 2-0 lead over Luxembourg, which would put them one point away from the gold medal match.

10.10 In table tennis, Maltese duo Felix Wetzel and Dimitriy Prokopcov opened their campaign in style in the doubles competition as they had the better of Monaco duo Geminiani and Tiso in straight sets – 11-3, 11-5 and 11-6. A good omen for the table tennis teams look to add more gold medals to their tally.

10.00 Sports activity is increasing at a steady pace this morning as at the moment, the men’s squash national team are in action in the semi-finals of the team event when they face Luxembourg.

At the moment, the Maltese team are already 1-0 ahead as Brad Hindle Deguara won his singles match to give the team an early edge. At the moment, Kijan Sultana is level in his singles match. So everything to play for.

Julia Xerri (right) in action against Luxembourg in the 3×3 basketball semi-final. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

9.50 The women’s selection was also in action this morning as they faced gold medal favourites Luxembourg in the opening semi-final.

The Maltese side found the going tough against the strong Luxembourg team who overwhelmed the hosts sides with a brilliant performance that saw them power home to a dominant 21-3 win.

Despite the defeat, the Maltese team are still with a shout for a bronze medal as they will be in action in the third-place play-off this afternoon.

09.40 Today is one of the busiest day of the 2023 GSSE as in fact there will be gold medals won in no less than seven disciplines. Competitive action has already started this morning when the men’s 3×3 basketball team were in action in their final group match against Monaco.

The match turned out into a nail-biting affair with both teams tied to each other until the final seconds of the match. But in the end it was Monaco who struck the killer blow with a shot from outside the arc that gave them a thrilling 19-18 victory.

09.30 Good morning, it has been a great ride for Maltese sport this week as on Wednesday, Team Malta won a record 12th gold medal after our table tennis teams prevailed in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

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