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20th Edition of the annual MOC Gala Sports Awards celebrates a successful year of sport

By December 2, 2023Events, News

The Maltese Olympic Committee hosted the 20th edition of its annual Gala Sports Awards, an evening dedicated to celebrating the pinnacle of athletic achievement in Malta.

This annual event brings together the nation’s sporting elite who are honoured for their outstanding accomplishments in the international sporting scene.  This year was particularly special due to the success Malta achieved in the Games of the Small States of Europe which were hosted in Malta in June and which resulted in Malta achieving the highest ever medal tally.

The Maltese Olympic Committee Gala Sports Awards brings together Malta’s sporting elite,  recognizing and celebrating their exceptional achievements on the global sports stage. This year holds unique significance, fueled by Malta’s remarkable success in the Games of the Small States of Europe, held locally in June. This historic event not only showcased Malta’s athletic prowessbut also propelled Malta to its highest-ever medal count.

The Maltese Olympic Committee thoroughly evaluated all nominations received by means to a newly introduced Awards criteria structure.  The changes were designed to reflect, more appropriately, the nature of each athlete’s nominated competition result, ensuring that the recognition bestowed is not only well-deserved but also tailored to the unique accomplishments achieved on the grand stage of international competition.  As a result, 56 athletes and teams were presented with an award on the evening.

The highest honour of the evening, the Gold Award,  was presented to Clayton Castaldi,  who wrote the history books in the game of pool in Malta when he was crowned world champion after triumphing in the singles tournament final that was played in Agadir, Morocco. Castaldi was the first-ever Maltese player to lift the world title in the singles competition.

Games of the Small States of Europe

The evening also saw the distribution of financial bonuses to medal winners at the Games hosted in Malta earlier on this year.   unanimous decision to present these bonuses during the Gala Sports Awards was taken in collaboration with the National Federations and concerned athletes earlier on this year.  All GSSE Medal winners were also presented with a special memento highlighting their achievement in the Games.

Awards Organising Committee Chairperson and Deputy President Paul Sultana  remarked that “the 20th Edition of the MOC Gala Sports Awards emphasize the fact that Maltese athletes have embraced a competitive spirit, moving beyond mere participation. This approach serves as a powerful motivation, inspiring heightened dedication and effort. Today’s celebration stands as a prime example of the positive outcomes that stem from this committed mindset”

Hall of Fame

The Maltese Olympic Committee inducted two prominent figures of Maltese sport, Robert Ebejer and Jack Schiavone, into its coveted Hall of Fame, which gives recognition to those athletes, officials, administrators and sports journalists who in their work have strived and worked to spread the spirit of the Olympic ideals.

Robert Ebejer has an illustrious career to his name. A former president of the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta, a post he held for 17 years he was also elected as LEN Bureau Member.  In 2003 he won Official of the Year Award from Għaqda Kittieba Sports and in 2012 recognised by SportMalta for his contribution to Maltese sport.  His efforts saw Malta host the European Swimming and Diving Championships which saw Malta welcome over 1000 participants from 28 coutnries. Still very active on the local scene, he is an ASA Honorary President and an Honorary member of LEN.

The second Hall of Fame inductee for the evening was  the late cyclist Jack Schiavone. Cycling was a huge and essential part of his life.  Twice “National Road Champion” 1999 and 2002 and twice the national Time Trial champion in 2003 and 2004.  Jack represented Malta in several international competitions, including, the Mediterranean Games, Commonwealth Games, as well as several Games of the Small States of Europe. More recently he completed three Ironman triathlons and the brutal Marathon des Sables.  A highly respected figure in the cycling community he made valuable contributions to help young cyclists grow, develop and progress in this sport.

 “This evening is about celebrating our nation’s sporting pride.  It fills me with immense prid to see so many achievements being recognised today. These athletes have forged a path of excellence through their dedication and unwavering commitment. For this I thank them but I also would like to thank the Government, National Development & Social Fund, European Olympic Committees, for providing their crucial financial support, a testament to their belief in our athletes’ potential. This year, a particularly special year for Maltese sport, saw entities like the Maltese Olympic Committee, SportMalta and Government work together for the good of sport and for which these results were made possible”commended MOC President Julian Pace Bonello.

The Maltese Olympic Committee expresses its gratitude to the various organisations and entities who have shown their support throughout the year, SportMalta, NDSF, Olympic Solidarity, European Olympic Committees,  BOV, Enemed, Full Marks, Go, GSD,  Heartbeat Clinic, Malta International Airport, MITA, National Lottery, Planet Physio, Saint James Hospital, Sterling Jewellers, VisitMalta, Welbee’s Supermarket, The Concept Stadium, Toyota, Vini e Capricci.

Award Winners

Gold Award

Clayton Castaldi (Pool)

Silver Award

Sue Abela (Bowling), Under 18 Team (Pool), Scott Muscat (Pool), Katrina Micallef (Sailing), Richard Schultheis (Sailing), Marlon Attard (Shooting)

Bronze Award

U/18 National Team Women (Basketball), Lazam Abras (Body Building & Fitness), Cynthia Frendo Duca (Bowling), Kayden Lagana (Bowling), Mauro Anastasi (Bowling),  Men’s Team (Golf), Dejan Grech (Pool), Men’s Team  (Pool), Team U23 (Pool), Team Elusive (Sailing) Gianluca Chetcuti (Shooting), Team Malta Open (Table Football), Kim Camilleri Lagana (Weightlifting), Rylee Borg (Weightlifting), Tenishia Thornton (Weightlifting), Women’s Team (Weightlifting)


Special Award

Senior Waterpolo Team (Men) (Swimming),  U15 MEN WATERPOLO National Team (Swimming), U17 WOMEN WATERPOLO National Team (Swimming), U17 MEN WATERPOLO National Team (Swimming), Thea Parnis Coleiro (Athletics), Roderick Theuma (Body Building and Fitness), Isaac Bezzina (Judo), Katryna Esposito (Judo), Thyis Antonelli (Karate), Team Malta (Malta Racing Club), Nordai Desira (Pool), Steven Muscat (Pool), Tonio Mifsud (Pool), Team +60 (Pool), Benjamin Vassallo (Sailing), Colette Sultana (Squash), Lijana Sultana (Squash), Alycia Cassar (Taekwondo), Michela Scerri (Taekwondo),  Francesca Curmi (Tennis), Danica Bonello Spiteri (Triathlon) Kai Azzopardi (Triathlon) Mixed Team (Weightlifting) 

Accomplishment Award

Clive Farrugia (Shooting), Thyis Antonelli (Karate), Charles Aquilina (Table-Football), Jason Pisani (Table-Football), John Zammit (Table-Football), Jurgen Balzan (Table-Football), Mark Gauci (Table-Football), Massimo Cremona (Table-Football), Samuel Bartolo (Table-Football), Team Bormla (Table-Football), Team Valletta SC (Table-Football), Team Veterans (Table-Football), Francesca Curmi (Tennis), Marlon Attard (Shooting), Kayden Lagana’ (Bowlling)