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Teddy Teuma, Haley Bugeja, and Tenishia Thornton among semi-finalists at Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali

Football players Teddy Teuma and Haley Bugeja, shooters Clive Farrugia and Marlon Attard, as well as weightlifting starlet Tenishia Thornton, have all been shortlisted among the semi-finalists of this year’s edition of the Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali.

The announcement was made on Sunday afternoon by Sandro Micallef, president of the Għaqda Ġurnalisti Sport, and general secretary Lorraine Cunningham on TVM Sports.

The annual sports awards have now reached their 64th edition and sportsmen and sportswomen shortlisted in the seven categories contested were selected after a jury of sports journalists analysed the nominations made by the local sporting bodies and decided the ten semi-finalists in each class

The sportsman of the year category, featured 2023 GSSE medallists Marlon Attard, Clive Farrugia, of shooting, as well as long-distance runner Jordan Gusman.

They were joined by world pool champion Clayton Castaldi, national team football player Teddy Teuma, Steven Muscat (blackball), Giancarlo Sammut (futsal), Jean Claude Pace (horse racing), Richard Schulteis (sailing), and Brent Spiteri (kickboxing).

In the sportswoman of the year class, last year’s winner Katryna Esposito (judo) was again among the semi-finalists alongside former winners Sue Abela (bowling), Eleonor Bezzina (target shooting) and football player Hayley Bugeja.

Weightlifting sensation Thornton also made the list alongside Philippa Busuttil (gymnastics), Francesca Curmi (tennis), Gail Diacono (boxing), Janet Richard (athletics), and Colette Sultana (squash).

Sailing and triathlon headlined the entries in the Youth Man Athlete of the Year as triathletes Kai Azzopardi and Liam Daly made the list alongside sailors Benjamin Vassallo and Timmy Vassallo. They were joined by Rylee Borg (weightlifting), Nathan Degiorgio (taekwondo), Jake Castaldi (blackball), Matthew Galea Soler (athletics), Kayden Lagana (bowling), Steven Muscat (pool).

In the Youth Woman Athlete of the Year there were some new faces who made the list such as powerlifter Caylee Attard, Thyis Antonelli (karate) and Karlise Bartolo, of bowling.

They were joined by Philippa Busuttil (gymnastics), Kim Camilleri Lagana (weightlifting), Ella Fenech Attard (swimming), Katrina Micallef (sailing), Thea Parnis Coleiro (athletics), Michela Scerri (taekwondo) and Lijana Sultana (squash).

The Coach of the Year category featured Malta women’s football coach Manuela Tesse, who led the team to an historic promotion in the UEFA Nations League.

The Italian was joined by Zeljko Aras (athletics), Gordon Asciak (tennis), Delon Dannhauser (swimming), Rodmar Pulis (weightlifting), Vince Saliba (pool), Roderick Tanti (blackball), Jonathan Valletta (waterpolo), Rick Vogelesang (bowling) and Ditmir Vordinaj (taekwondo).

Paul Sultana, Malta’s chef de mission at the 2023 GSSE, was among those nominated in the Official of the Year category alongside Rita Azzopardi (ASA), Jesmond Caruana (weightlifting), Aldrin Cassar (athletics), Christabel Damato (Special Olympics), Vince Degiorgio (pool), Philip Gatt (blackball), Joseph Grima (paralympics), Robert Portelli (rugby union), and Anna Vassallo (taekwondo).

The women’s football national team was also shortlisted in the team of the year class alongside the artistic swimming team, the athletics national team, the women’s basketball U-18 national team, U-18 men’s blackball national team, U-18 men’s pool national team, Malta Knights (rugby league), the bowling women’s doubles team, the weightlifting team that competed in the Mediterranean Championship and the waterpolo U-15 boys’ national team.

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