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Malta U-16 faces tough draw at World Championships to be staged in Malta

The Malta U-16 national team were handed a tough draw in the World Aquatics Men’s Waterpolo Championships that will be held in Malta this summer.

The Aquatic Sport Association of Malta were handed for the first time the organisation of the competition that brings over to Malta 32 teams from all over the world.

Europe will be represented by 19 teams, three from Africa, three Asian teams, two from Oceania and five teams hailing from the American continent.

Malta were drawn in Group H and will face waterpolo powerhouse Greece, Kazakhstan and Romania.

While Greece are the favourites to top the group, Jonathan Valletta’s boys have a tough fight on their hands to finish ahead of Kazakhstan and Romania, in particular, who have improved a lot in recent years.

Sports Minister Clifton Grima travelled to Qatar for the draw ceremony that was held in Qatar and was also attended by ASA president Karl Izzo and Husain Al-Musallam, the president of World Aquatics.

Dr Grima said that Malta were proud to be given the responsibility of hosting the biggest-ever aquatics championship to be held in our country.

“As a country, we should be proud that in the space of a few months, Malta will again be hosting a prestigious championship and in June we will not only be welcoming athletes from 32 countries, but we will be hosting the biggest aquatic event that was ever held in Malta,” Dr Grima said.

“This is a legacy from the investment made not only on the sports infrastructure but also on the athletes as well as the excellent organisational achievements in various top international competitions such as the Special Olympics, the UEFA U-19 Championship finals as well as the Games of the Small States of Europe.

“This is an historical moment in the Maltese sporting scene that will help us to continue to boost Malta’s profile and further confirms the trust that our country enjoys to host championships of the highest level.”

Dr Grima said that this will be a top event that will not only bring to Malta waterpolo teams but it will attract delegations which will be formed by members of the technical staff and their families.

“Thus these championships will give a boost to Malta’s sports tourism as well as our country’s economy,” Dr Grima concluded.

On his part, Karl Izzo, the president of the ASA, spoke about the importance of these championships for Malta.

“These championships will rubberstamp Malta’s position as an ideal venue to host top international events while also strengthening our international ties,” the ASA president said.

“The ASA has a central role in the organisation and promotion of this prestigious international event, that for our country will be a unique experience that will unite our rich culture with the excitement of international competitions.”

During their stay in Qatar, Minister Grima and Izzo had various meetings with the World Aquatics president Al-Musallam, Antonio Silva, the president of the European Aquatics, and Josip Varvodic, the first vice-president of the European Aquatics during which it was discussed the organisation of the U-16 world championhips, the Champions League’s Final Four Tournament that will be held this summer.

Talks also were also held over the possibility of further collaborations to organise more aquatic international events and at the same time strengthen the relationship between the ASA, World Aquatics and European Aquatics.

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