The 18th Edition of the annual Maltese Olympic Committee Sports Awards fêted the international achievements of local elite athletes and teams, who excelled in their respective sports throughout the period of October 2018 – October 2019.
With 2019 being a GSSE year it was to be expected that the majority of awards presented went to athtletes forming part of Team Malta in Montenegro, however a substantial number of athletes competing in events other than the GSSE performed well to bring further honour to Malta. In total sixty nine awards were presented. The highest accolade of the evening was the Gold Award Category of which sixteen awards were presented.
In a brief address, William Beck, Deputy President and Chairman of the MOC Sports Awards Organising team, congratulated the winners for reaching the ultimate goal – Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is what every athlete strives for; to be the fastest, to reach the highest, to be the strongest. He also expressed the Committee’s admiration for those athletes who despite not having made it to the podium still honoured Malta with their level of sportsmanship whenever they competed and emphasized that when the time comes for them to be remembered for their actions, they will be remembered as to how they played the game.
Special guest for the evening was Szilveszter Csollány, former Hungarian gymnast, considered as one of the best gymnasts in Olympic history. An Olympic medallist following his success in Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000), he is also a five time World Artistic Gymnastics Champion and is considered to be one of the world’s renowned gymnastics coaches both in Hungary and in other European countries.
Local Council Awards
Efforts by Local Councils to promote sports and sporting activities included a variety of events ranging from cycling races, football matches, road running races, swimming etc. Twelve local councils submitted their entries for consideration. The winners of the Awards were Marsaxlokk and Zejtun in joint third place, Mellieħa in second place and in first place was Ghajnsielem Local Council.
Hall of Fame
Four inductees were welcomed to the Maltese Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame. The honorees were Gordon Asciak (Tennis), the late Gerald DeGaetano (Athletics), Alfred Ellul Mercer (Weightlifting) and John Zammit (Cycling). With the exception of Gerald DeGaetano who sadly passed away in 2018, all inductees are still very active in their respective sports and continue to contribute towards its development and growth.
MOC President Julian Pace Bonello explained that the Maltese Olympic Committee’s mission is to embrace the International Olympic Committee’s values within the local sporting community – this is being achieved through a number of projects such as the Youth Elite Scheme, support for various initiatives through Olympic Solidarity, Anti-doping Education, Gender Equality initiatives and other projects. Furthermore, the Maltese Olympic Committee’s objective is to ensure that Maltese sport continues to develop and grow by offering a professional setup so that our athletes can find the assistance they require to achieve their true potential.
List of Awards
Rachela Pace (Malta Amateur Athletic Association), Andre Camilleri, Luke Ellul Sullivan, Emily Grech Carr, Haley Pawley Neame (Aquatic Sports Association of Malta), Matthew Abela (Badminton Malta), Etienne Bonello, Christian Formosa, Men’s National Team (Malta Cycling Federation), Tara Vella Clark (Gymnastics), Scott Muscat (Malta Pool Association), Kijan Sultana, Lijana Sultana (Malta Squash Association), Jurgen Balzan (Malta Table Football Sports Association), Helene Pellicano (Malta Tennis Federation), Kayden Lagana, Dwayne Zahra (Malta Tenpin Bowling Association), Tenishia Thornton (Malta Weightlifting Association)
Ian Paul Grech, Paula Grech, Damien Mizzi (Malta Amateur Athletic Association), Mya Azzopardi, Francesca Falzon Young, Sasha Gatt, Mikhail Umnov, Martina Valletta, Michee Van Rooyen ( Aquatic Sports Association of Malta), Nicholas Beck, Andrew Borg, Ruud Critien, JJ Micallef (Malta Golf Association) Vlad Baldacchino, Matthew Camilleri, Shaun Ciantar (Malta Weightlifting Association)
Claire Rose Azzopardi (Malta Amateur Athletic Association), Dylan Cachia, Andrew Chetcuti, Matthew Galea, Alexandra McGonigle, Harry Stacey (Aquatic Sports Association of Malta), Marie Claire Aquilina (Malta Cycling Federation), Roderick Theuma (Malta Federation of Body Building & Fitness), Ella Borg (Malta Gymnastics Federation), Isaac Bezzina, Katrina Esposito, Jeremy Saywell (Malta Judo Federation), Men’s National Team (Malta Pool Association), Amani Faraoun (Malta Taekwondo Federation), Francesca Curmi, Elaine Genovese (Malta Tennis Federation) Mauro Anastasi, Mark Spiteri (Malta Tenpin Bowling Association), Roberta Tabone (Malta Weightlifting Association)
Lisa Marie Bezzina, Jordan Daniel Gusman (Malta Amateur Athletic Association), Duncan Bezzina, Tony Drago (Malta Billiards & Snooker Association), Bader Almiloudi (Malta Federation of Body Building & Fitness), Kimberly Stanton (Malta Karate Federation), Elusive 2 Sailing Team (Malta Sailing Federation), Eleanor Bezzina, Gianluca Chetcuti, William Chetcuti (Malta Shooting Sports Federation), Derek Conti (Malta Table Football Sports Association), Sue Abela, Cynthia Frendo Duca, Sara Xuereb (Malta Tenpin Bowling Association), Hannah Cutajar (Malta Triathlon Federation), Yasmin Zammit Stevens (Malta Weightlifting Association).