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GSSE 2023 Day 6: Medal rush in shooting and sailing to hand Team Malta another more gold medals

Gina McNamara (left) and Lisa Marie Bezzina. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The 2023 GSSE come to a close on Saturday and Team Malta is looking to end what has been a memorable week with more gold medals as they chase the top spot in the overall medals table…

19.00 FULL TIME Malta will settle for silver against 77-ranked Luxembourg after a nerve-wracking finale which saw Malta come back from a 20-point deficit but lost out 78-69 in the final minute of the game.

17.34 HALFTIME at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion with Luxembourg leading 40-30 against Malta. A strong opening from the Maltese became a clouded second as the Malta players went from hot to cold, Luxembourg taking full advantage and a deserved lead at the break.

17.25 SILVER! Malta finish second in the women’s 4x400m relay as Kay Testa, Claire McNamara, Josefa Micallef, and Janet Richard capture yet another Malta medal.

Jared Micallef loses his footing in the 4x400m relay. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

17.14 Misery in the men’s 4x400m relay as not one, but two runners crash to the ground resulting in a last-place finish for Malta.

16.56 GOLD! Gina McNamara breaks the record of individual gold medals in athletics with yet another in the 5,000m as she finished first with a time of 17.11.32 ahead of Malta’s Lisa Marie Bezzina as Malta wins its 90th and 91st medal of the Games

16.45 TIP OFF in the men’s basketball final between Malta and Luxembourg at a fully packed Ta’ Qali Pavilion. Not one seat empty as the biggest game of the tournament begins!

The women’s 4x100m relay team. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

16.23 Back to tennis, as Matthew Asciak and Elaine Genovese have won the bronze medal in the tennis doubles after beating Eric Cervoz and Victoria Jimenez 6-4, 6-0.

16.21 GOLD ALERT! Jordan Gusman places first in the 5,000m race to pick up his second gold medal in these Games.

The Maltese athlete finished in a time of 13.51.77 – a Games record, first-ever sub-14 5,000m race.

Simon Spiteri missed out on a medal in this race.

15.53 In the women’s 4x100m relay… yes, you’ve guessed it – GOLD! Claire Azzopardi, Janet Richard, Carla Scicluna and Charlotte Wingfield finished first after a time of 45.39.

15.51 In the squash mixed doubles event, Niall Engerer and Colette Sultana are closing in on gold after winning their first set 11-7 11-7. This would add yet another gold to the barrage of medals won in the earlier events this Games.

Luke Bezzina was Malta’s final runner in the men’s 4x100m relay. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

15.40 GOLD, GOLD, GOLD, GOLD! Another gold medal for Malta this time for the men’s 4x100m relay. Beppe Grillo opened with Graham Pellegrini, Gaetano Di Franco, and Luke Bezzina following as the team finished first with a time of 40.59.

15.12 No-go for Ian Paul Grech as the malta jumper fails to complete his jump. He loses his place in second but takes bronze (13.93) anyway as James Armani wins GOLD (14.49). This is Malta’s 30th Gold medal at these Games!

15.00 uncertainty in the men’s triple jump as Ian Paul Grech has been feeling a bit of discomfort in his hamstring. valuation is currently taking place to see whether he should jump or not. Meanwhile James Armani is currently leading in the standings so far, with Grech in second.

14.15 SILVER AND BRONZE IN 200m WOMEN... Carla Scicluna places second in a new national record time while Janet Richard takes bronze.

14.07 MEDAL GALORE IN SAILING… No racing on the final day which means that Team Malta has completed a clean sweep in the Optimist Senior, in both the men and women’s categories.

Timmy Vassallo took gold ahead of Jonas Micallef and Matthias Spiteri while in the women’s class Emily Fenech took gold ahead of Aleksandra Nagrudnaya and Katrina Briffa.

In the ILC4 class Katrina Micallef took gold while Mia Busuttil placed third.

14.02 GOLD ATHLETICS… Graham Pellegrini secures the gold medal in the 200m in a time of 21.22 seconds while Beppe Grillo places fifth. Luxembourg’s David Wallig was second in 21.28.

13.55 This success has a huge bearing Maltese shooting history as this is the first time the Maltese shooters won two gold medals in the GSSE history.

13.53 Clive Farrugia wins GOLD… Marcello Attard SILVER.… what a performance. The Cypriot shooters had to bow to the prowess of the Maltese shooters.

13.50 GOLD AND SILVER IN SKEET BRILLIANT… Clive Farrugia and Marcello Attard are through to the gold medal final… Cypriot Vasiliou is out.

13.43 Medal alert... Clive Farrugia and Marcello Attard are both assured of a medal in the skeet after making the top three in the final.

13.40 More gold medals are on the way for Team Malta as in squash we are set for an all-Maltese final in the mixed doubles as Kijan Sultana and Lijana Sultana will be up against team-mates Colette Sultana and Niall Engerer.

13.30 The skeet shooting final under way and Clive Farrugia is just one shot behind Vasilous of Cyprus with Marcello Attard in fourth place.

The winning moment…. Pecotic and Asciak win gold.

13.21 GOLD IN TENNIS… Matthew Asciak and Matija Pecotic have won gold in the men’s doubles after winning their match 6-1 6-4 against their Cypriot opponents to give Malta its 27 gold medal and also its 100th in the GSSE history… extraordinary

13.16 Asciak and Pecotic are serving for the match and the gold medal… excitement brewing up.

13.11 Another gold medal is on its way as Matthew Asciak and Matija Pecotic are just one game away as they lead the second set 5-3.

13.00 Wetzel has done it GOLD FOR MALTA. An incredible Wetzel literally brushed aside his more-quoted opponent 3-0!!!!!!!!!!

Felix Wetzel won gold in the table tennis singles. Video: Matthe Mirabelli

12.44 Wetzel is one set away from the gold medal. Go Felix Go! The atmosphere at the University Pavilion is electrifying! Wetzel saved his best for last as he goes 2-0 up against Glod, winning a nerve-wrecking second set 13-11.

12.41 Asciak and Pecotic are leading their doubles final in tennis after winning the first set 6-1. Impressive stuff.

12.35 Next up is Wetzel gunning for gold for Malta in table tennis. What a start for Wetzel in the singles’ event! An incredible first set from the Malta player who annulated Ericx Glod, ranked 200 in the world with some exciting spin shots which are keeping the crowd on their toes. He won the first set 11-5.

12.30 IACOP DREAM OVER… Iacop’s dreams of winning gold is over as the visibly tired Maltese player could not keep the pace with the superior Yang who completed a straights sets win. Still a great effort for Iacop who secures the silver medal.

12.20 BACK TO TENNIS… Matija Pecotic and Matthew Asciak have made a very strong start in the doubles final as they broke the serve of Cypriot duo Kyratzis and Neos to lead 2-0.

12.17 Colette Sultana and Niall Engerer are through to the mixed doubles final after they defeated Luxembourg pair Mark Radley and Michele Meyer in straight sets. They await the winner of the second semi-final as Miguel Duarte Tojal and Sandra Denis, of Luxembourg, play Maltese pair Kijan Sultana and Lijana Sultana. Will we have an all-Maltese final?

12.16 In the second set, Iacob held her own against Yang, delivering some spin shots to put the Monégasque under pressure. Yet, that was enough as Yang edged closer to the gold medal with a second set 11-9.

12.15 In the squash mixed doubles, Colette Sultana and Niall Engerer are on their way to the final as they won the opening set against Mark Radley and Michele Meyer of Luxembourg in the semis

Camila Iacop during the women’s singles final. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

12.08 Difficult start for Camilla Iacob in the Singles’ event final as she is trailing 1-0 against Xiaoxin Yang. The Chinese-born Monégasque stormed out of the blocks, taking a 6-0 advantage to finish the first set 11-5.

12.02 Full time at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion as Malta’s women miss out on a bronze medal after an 87-77 defeat to Cyprus. A strong game for the Maltese nonetheless with the game decided by three-pointers from the sharpshooting Cypriot Akathiotis.

11.55 Francesca Curmi’s dream is over as Jimenez races through to win the second set 6-4 to secure victory and the gold medal. It was still a great effort from the Maltese effort who has enjoyed an extraordinary week at the 2023 GSSE with gold in the women’s doubles alongside Elaine Genovese.

11.31 Setback for Curmi as Jimenez breaks to love to level the match at three games all.

11.28 Curmi fights back to break for second time in the women’s tennis final. The Maltese player had lost her early break but she managed to regain the advantage in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead.

11.15 In the skeet shooting competition, Clive Farrugia has put himself in a strong position as he finished the qualifying campaign in second place on 94 points. Vasiliou of Cyprus is top with 97 while Marcello Attard is fifth on 89.

11.10 Francesca Curmi breaks… Curmi storms to 40-0 in the opening game of the second set and while Jimenez manage to annull two break points but the Maltese strikes in the third to lead 1-0.

11.05 Felix Wetzel earns a place in the singles’ final after beating Filip Radovic of Montenegro 3-0 – 11-5, 11-8, 11-5. He will meet Luxembourg’s Eric Glod who beat his compatriot Luka Mladenovic 3-0 in the other semi-final.

10.59 In table tennis, Felix Wetzel is well on his way to reach the men’s singles final. Facing Montenegrin Radovic, Wetzel is leading by two sets to love and 8-4 ahead. He is closing on the gold medal final.

10.57 Jimenez breaks Curmi again to take the first set 6-2. Curmi has a tough fight on her hands to turn around this final.

10.52 Jimenez has moved one game away after a crucial hold in the seventh game which went twice into due before the Andorran held to lead 5-2 against Francesca Curmi.

10.50 The bronze medal final in basketball between Malta and Cyprus in basketball is under way at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion. Malta women lead 39-37! It was mixed emotions throughout the two quarters but an Ashleigh Van Vliet three-pointer set the two teams apart with seconds remaining of the second quarter.

10.45 Jimenez breaks for the second time in the women’s tennis final against Francesca Curmi as she now leads 4-2…. but still a long way to go.

10.30 Strbikova’s defeat means that the Team Malta player has still been assured of a bronze medal. With Iacop in the final, the women players are guaranteed to at least finish with silver and bronze.

Camilla Iacop is through to the women’s singles final. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

10.15 Camilla Iacop has given Team Malta an early boost in the table tennis singles as she booked her place in the singles final after dispatching of Luxembourg player Barbosa 3-1.

Iacop will be up against hot favourite Xiaoxin Yang, of Luxembourg in the final who earlier on Saturday beat Malta’s Renata Stribova 3-0.

Iacob made her intentions clear from the beginning after going 2-0 up, Barbosa fought back to set up a nervy finale for the sizeable crowd at the University Pavilion. But all well that ends as when Iacob won the fourth set 11-9.

10.00 Good morning and welcome to our daily live blog of the Games of the Small States of Europe.

Action has already started with Francesca Curmi is currently in action in the gold medal match of the women’s tennis singles when she faces Andorran player Victoria Jimenez while in table tennis the semi-finals of the singles competition are under way.

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