John Benici (Is-Sur Gian)
John Bencini low Philanthropist, politician, trade unionist and above all sports administrator. One of the pioneers of Maltese football is Sur-Gian, who started his career when he founded St Barbara Football Club of Valletta in the early 1900’s.  Between 1912 and 1915 he served as vice president of the Malta Football Association. In 1933 he founded what was to be and still is the leading amateur football club on the island, Melita FC. He led the club for decades as its president and founder instilled in his players the ethos of ‘the game first and foremost, winning is not everything but wanting to is!’ He epitomized the true Olympic ideals and the De Courebertin philosophy for sport. His legacy lives on till today as Melita is still doning the red and white colours and is the only Amateur Club whose status can be changed through a unanimous vote. On his retirement he was nominated honorary president of the Malta Football Association.
Carmel Costa
Carmelo Costa low A pioneer of local broadcasting Carmelo Costa started his career during the late 1940’s in a Malta which was still recovering from the devastation of the Second World War. It was a time when radio was the only means of communication for the Maltese. A time when the nation was coming to terms with a new reality. Whatever the occasion, sports lovers would return home particularly on Saturdays and Sundays to hear Carmelo’s comments on the fare of the day which he would portray with great detail.  The first live broadcasts were launched by Carmelo and these were the precursors of television which would take over in the 1960’s. His career span 36 years when in 1985 he called it a day. By that time he had already passed on his legacy to a host of personalities including Lewis portelli and Fr. Hilary to mention but a few. Amongst his many achievements one finds the memorable commentary of the England vs. Malta game played at Wembley stadium on the 12th May 1971.
Alfred Grixti
Alfred Grixti low Freddie as he is known in sporting circles, was the undisputed best ever water polo player in the history of the game. His career at the top spans more that 20 years where he won every major honour the game has to offer. He was a prolific goal scorer and an all rounder who had exceptional tactical acumen where he could read the game with great facility. He participated in the 1963 Mediterranean Games in Naples with the water polo team which also formed part of the Olympic Team in the same year; in 1975 the team participated in the Mediterranean Games inAlgiers for which he was the captain. He was the National Swimming Champion in no less than 4 events for a number of years and in 1960 he representedMalta in the Rome Olympics in the 100m freestyle. He was winner of the national ‘Sportsman of the Year’ on two occasions. Freddie was selected to represent the Pick Army in both water polo and swimming events in Malta and overseas.
Major Nestor Jacono
Nestor Jacono low From his early days at St. Edward’s College, in the mid-30’s, Nestor Jacono showed great promise in sport especially in athletics. He was unbeatable in the 100 yards not only through his College days but eventually also in the national championships. After leaving school, Nestor Jacono continued to train hard and became Malta’s undisputed No. 1 sprinter. Although WW II brought all sports activities nearly to a halt, Nestor was determined to keep on improving his national record. Jacono’s potential was recognised by the M.A.A.A. and he was chosen as the sole competitor to represent Malta at the first post war Olympic Games which were held in London in 1948. Organised so soon after the end of hostilities, Nestor Jacono will never forget the continuous cheers and clapping accompanied by shouts of “Brave Malta” as he proudly marched behind the Maltese flag round the Wembley Stadium track during the March Past of the Opening Ceremony. Back in Malta, Jacono continued to dominate the 100 yards event in the national championships for some more years. After he retired, he set up the Pegasus Club to encourage and train school children. He was later involved in the administration of sport in Malta being a member of various sports organisations including a member of the Maltese Olympic Committee.
Lewis Portelli M.Q.R.
Lewis Portelli low Lewis Portelli’s sports broadcasting and journalistic career spans 49 years. Producer and presenter on radio, television and on-course commentator at the Malta Racing Club, he is also a regular contributor to ‘The Times’. BBC trained, Lewis Portelli travelled extensively covering international events and interviewing world top sports personalities and administrators. Lewis Portelli is the author of 13 books dealing with the World Cup, the Olympic Games and the Games of the Small States ofEurope and of a special commemorative book spanning the first 100 years of the Malta F.A. He is also the Editor of The Football Year Book -Malta, now in its 19th year. In 1994 he was invited to write and read a paper at the I.O.C. Centennial Congress at Sorbonne University in Paris with the title “Sports in Small and Developing Countries”. Awarded the I.O.C. prize in 1988 and again in 2004. In the National Republic Day honours (1993) Lewis Portelli was decorated with the Midalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika for his contribution to sport. In 2001 Lewis won the Malta Press Club sports journalist Award. Member of the University Radio ‘Sportsopolis’ team, winner of the Broadcasting Authority Award (2002). Co-founder of the Sportswriters Association and Founder of the Sportsmanship Trophy – Malta. In 1997 he was given the “Premju Mons. Azzopardi” for his voluntary work at the Dar  tal-Providenza
John C. Ripard M.Q.R.
john ripard low Undoubtedly one of our foremost yachtsmen, John Ripard’s sports career also included underwater fishing having been chosen to represent Malta in the World Underwater championships in Portugal in 1959. However his forte has always been in the sailing world. He competed for Malta in the Snipe Class in the Mediterranean Games inBarcelona in 1955 and again during the 1960 Olympiad when together with his brother Paul, he participated in the Star Class.  Eventually John moved up to larger offshore keel boats and took part in numerous offshore races in Tunisia, Italy and Sicily all organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club of which he is President.  Winner of the first Middle Sea Race on Josian in 1968 and again on Tikka in 1970, John also won his class in the ‘Giraglia’ and ‘Campionato d’Inverno’ in Genova. In the early 80’s he was elected international judge, his highlight being his nomination to the International jury during the 1996 Atlanta Olympiad with the sailing events taking place in Savannah. In 1983, after the USA lost the America’s Cup to Australia, John was appointed Chairman of the race committee when the yacht club Costa Smeralda was responsible for organising the Louis Vouitton Cup, the preamble to the America’s Cup. This was followed by his appointment as alternate judge in Freemantle in 1987. He was again nominated to the international Juries in 1988, 1992 and 1995 America’s Cups. John Ripard’s unforgettable experience of judging in the World’s most important championships has taken him practically all over the world.  In the Republic Day National honours 1992 John Ripard was given the ‘Midalja Ghall-Qadi Tar-Repubblika’.
Joseph Demicoli (Kanesi)
Joseph Demicoli low Guzi Demicoli was one of the great all rounders of Maltese Sport.  He was a formidable swimmer, a top-class water polo player and a very useful footballer. Representing Malta in water polo and playing league football for Valletta F.C. were two of the many feats of this great sportman.  At one time, he was the holder of three Maltese swimming titles and he turned out for the Army’s Athletics team in the shot put. His towering frame earned him a place as a goalkeeper in the regiment’s water polo team.  Success came to him with unremitting regularity.  He was in the R.M.A. Team that lifted the Command Aquatic Shield in 1933 and in 1938.  In 1934, he beat the Tunisians visitors in swimming 100 yards to establish a new national record of 56.4 secs.  In 1936 he was selected to play for the Maltese water polo team in the Berlin Olympics.  Once again the decision was made to send him to represent Malta in the European swimming championships but at this time he was serving on HMS Hood with RMA.  During the trip he played against the strong HMS Hood football team in an unusual position of centre-forward, he scored all four goals by which the Maltese regiment defeated the British sailors.  He was a very good football player His size made him a formidable defender. Guze Demicoli will be always remembered as a towering full back and a versatile sports man.  A man who excelled in any sport in which he chose.
Ruggieru Friggieri
Ruggieru Friggieri2low Born on April 11, 1886 in Floriana, Ruggieru Friggieri made his debut with Floriana at the age of 16 during the 1902-03 season.  He showed his great skill during his first years and captained the Floriana team to win three successive Championships and two Cup victories.  He was admired and respected by team-players and fans and he became known as iz-Zibga for his speed on the pitch. As an enthusiastic full back, he was extremely popular with the Floriana fans, renowned for his hard, tough tackling, an expert for penalties and for his powerful ‘cannon-ball’ shots.  During the period 1913-16 he was the first Maltese player to play for professional football outside our shores.  He played with Napoli in the Italian League where he was described as the ‘Piccolo Diavolo Maltese’.  During World War I, he joined the KOMRM, leading the team to many famous victories in the United Services League. Such was his fame that he was chosen for the Pick Army, an honour which was bestowed on no other Maltese footballer of his era.  In 1916, Floriana disbanded their team and Ruggieru joined St. George’s helping the Saints to win the League and Cousis Shield double. Friggieri turned professional for Sliema Wanderers in 1922.  He stayed with the Wanderers for three seasons, winning two Championships, one Cup and one Cassar Cup medal.  He later returned to Floriana for what at the time was a record transfer fee however, this never materialized as iz-Zibga died suddenly aged 39 years.
Mr. Paul Giorgio
Paul Giorgio low A leading sports administrator who had a remarkable outlook and vision towards sport. He was a founder member of the ASA in 1925 and was its secretary from 1927 till 1936. In 1937 he became president of the ASA. He was a founder member of the Malta Olympic Committee where he became instrumental in the early days of the Malta Olympic Committee as it secretary from 1928 up until 1946. In 1946 Paul Giorgio became the president of the Malta Olympic Committee where he served an unmatched 18 year era as president up until 1963. On retiring from the Malta Olympic Committee Paul Giorgio had committed 35 years of his life to the Maltese Olympic Committee and the development of sport in Malta. He was Chef de Mission in Malta’s first ever Olympic Games participation in 1928 in Amsterdamand again in the famous Hitler Berlin Olympics in 1936. Without a shadow of any doubt Paul Giorgio was a hallmark of Maltese sport and a fine gentleman.
Fr. Hilary M.Q.R.
Fr. HilaryDSC_6916low Fr. Hilary was born at Tarxien in 1934. He joined the Augustinian Order in 1950, where he was given the name of Hilary a name he has held until the present day. He was ordained priest in 1958 after a study phase at the Gregorian University of Rome.  There, at a tender age, he started his journalistic career contributing regularly in ‘Lehen is-Sewwa’.  Here in Malta in 1960, he was appointed editor of the magazine ‘Santa Rita’ as well as director of the Augustinian Oratory at Tarxien.  During this period, he also started his career as a football coach.  For many years he coached both the junior and senior teams of Tarxien Rainbows.  He was even coach of Hibernians Football Club, in what could be termed one of the most successful periods for Hibs, wherein they won many honours in local football. The most prestigious result obtained by Hibernians under Fr. Hilary was the draw they managed against Manchester United in the European Cup of 1968, the year the English Club won the European Cup, known today as the UEFA Championship League Cup. In 1971, he founded the ‘Centru Sport Edukattiva’, which 10 years later developed into a technical centre at Ta’ Qali together with the present 44 local nurseries.  For 10 years, until 1996, Fr. Hilary was Technical Director of the MFA Football Team at Ta’ Qali. In 1980, he started working with drug addicts at San Blas and formed support groups for parents which are still functioning.  He attended eight consecutive World Cup finals, from Mexico 1970 to France 1998, as a journalist and commentator.  Besides, he was also present during many European Championships as well as six Olympic Games editions.  Fr. Hilary also worked for 20 years as a sports journalist for Redifussion, Xandir Malta and P.B.S. Co-founder of ‘Ghaqda Kittieba Sports’, of which he was president for 17 years. Chairman of the Malta Sports Council from 1999 to 2000, where he was instrumental in the donation of the first Government lands to Sports Associations and Federations. Today at the age of 71, he is still President of the Youth Football Association which he founded in 1982 and of which he has always been President. The year 2000 saw a new era in his life with the foundation of ‘Oasi tal-Paci’ in the heart of Paceville, the Millennium Chapel.  2004 also heralded the inauguration of ‘Wishing others Well’, the chapel’s social helping hand. On December the 13th, 2002, the then President of Malta, Prof. Guido De Marco, conferred on him the ‘Qadi tar-Repubblika’ award, on behalf of the People of Malta.