The Maltese Olympic Committee hosted the 19th MOC Sports Gala Awards on Wednesday evening. The Awards recognised athletes’ endeavors for the past two years which saw Malta being represented in numerous international events.
MOC President Julian Pace Bonello commended the dedication and commitment that Team Malta athletes have shown, particularly when faced with the additional challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic which hindered training and competitive activity. Nonetheless, he remarked that this year, Maltese athletes shone in all the three major Games – Mediterranean, Commonwealth and European Youth Olympic Festival bringing coveted medals home.
Present for the Gala was the Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation Dr Clifton Grima who noted the importance that prestigious achievements done by our athletes on the international scene are recognised.
“These successes are a result of the dedication and sacrifices made by our athletes which are leading them to remarkable results both in the locally and internationally”, said Minister Grima. He also acknowledged the work being done by the Maltese Olympic Committee with the preparation of the athletes for the Games of the Small States of Europe which will take place next year. “We are investing directly in our athletes so that we continue to see this kind of success also in these games”, concluded Minister Grima.
The evening saw a number Special, Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards being presented as well as recognition given to athletes who competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games, athletes who used their sport to drive a positive message and raise awareness on social issues as well as local councils who have been working to develop sporting initiatives within their communities. The Hall of Fame also inducted three individuals as a recognition for their work throughout the years.
The Special Awards is presented to athletes, who have performed well at high level competitions at European or World level and who’s participation can be restricted due to age and other criteria.
Special Award Winners for 2021
|Athletics Malta||Jeremy Zammit|
|Aquatic Sports Association of Malta||Sasha Gatt, Under-15 Men’s Waterpolo Team|
|Malta Football Association||Haley Bugeja|
|Federation of Body Building & Fitness||Mahmut Rajab|
|Malta Cycling Federation||Luke Borg|
|Malta Sailing Federation||Victoria Schulteis, Max Koerner|
|Malta Squash Association||Kijan Sultana, Lijana Sultana|
|Malta Table Football Sports Association||Jurgen Balzan|
|Malta Bowling Association||Kayden Lagana, Mark Spiteri, Dwayne Zahra|
|Malta Weightlifting Association||Tenishia Thornton|
Special Award Winners for 2022
|Aquatic Sports Association of Malta||Zea Montfort, Emily Ruggier, Under-16 Men’s Waterpolo Team, Under-19 Men’s Waterpolo Team|
|Badminton Malta||Francesca Clark, Martina Clark, Jeremy Gatt|
|Malta Cycling Federation||Daniel Bonello, Jacob Schembri|
|Ghaqda Regatta Nazzjonali u Qdif ieħor||Siggiewi Rowing Club|
|Malta Squash Association||Julian Scerri, Lijana Sultana|
|Malta Table Football Sports Association||Jurgen Balzan, Jamie Bonnici|
|Malta Taekwondo Association||Michaela Scerri|
|Malta Bowling Association||Kayden Lagna, Nicolai Mallia, Nicholas Muscat, Dwayne Zahra|
|Malta Triathlon Federation||Kai Azzopardi|
The Bronze Award is bestowed upon those athletes who won a Silver or Bronze Medal in the Championships of the Small States of Europe, Commonwealth Youth Games, Youth Olympic Games as well as a placing in the top eight places in the Commonwealth Games, Mediterranean Games, European Games and other high level events.
Bronze Award Winners for 2021
|Athletics Malta||National Relay Team (Claire Azzopardi, Sarah Busuttil, Carla Scicluna, Charlotte Wingfield)|
|Aquatic Sports Association of Malta||Ana Culic|
|Federation of Body Building & Fitness||Lazam Abraz|
|Malta Cycling Federation||Jason Vella|
|Malta Golf Association||Nicholas Beck|
|Malta Table Football Sports Association||Derek Conti|
|Malta Tennis Federation||Women’s National Team (Francesca Curmi, Jessica Dimech, Elaine Genovese, Helene Pellicano)|
Bronze Award Winners for 2022
|Athletics Malta||National Relay Team (Steve Camilleri, Dillon Cassar, Matthew Galea Soler, Beppe Grillo) Benjamin Micallef, Daniel Saliba Roberta Schembri|
|Aquatic Sports Association of Malta||Senior Men’s Waterpolo Team|
|Golf Association||National Team (Andrew Borg, Ruud Critien, Laurens Schulze Doering, JJ Verelst Micallef)|
|Horse Racing Club||Rodney Gatt|
|Weightlifting Federation||Gary Giordimaina|
|Malta Pool Association||Alessio Magro Scott Muscat Ryan Pisani|
|Malta Shooting Federation||Marlon Attard|
|Bowling Association||Mauro Anastasi, Rankin Luke Camilleri, Melissa Swift|
|Malta Tennis Federation||Men’s National Team (Matthew Asciak, Alex Degabriele, Liam Delicata, Dwayne Pullicino)|
|Malta Weightlifting Association||Yasmin Zammit Stevens|
Silver Awards give honour to those athletes winning a gold medal at championships of the Small States of Europe, Olympic Games, Youth Commonwealth Games as well as a Bronze medal at Commonwealth, Mediterranean, European Games and other high level events.
Silver Award Winners for 2021
|Athletics Malta||Peppijna Dalli|
|Billiards & Snooker Association||Duncan Bezzina, Philip Ciantar|
|Malta Cycling Federation||Marie Claire Aquilina|
|Malta Golf Association||Men’s National Team (Andrew Borg, Ruud Critien, Laurens Schulze Doering, JJ Verelst Micallef )|
|Malta Sailing Federation||Antonia Schultheis|
|Malta Table Football Sports Association||Samuel Bartolo, Mark Gauci, Jason Pisani|
|Malta Bowling Association||Kenneth Arpa, Cynthia Duca, Matthew Magro|
Silver Award Winners for 2022
|Malta Basketball Association||Mens’ National Team|
|Athletics Malta||Claire Azzopardi, Janet Richard, Carla Scicluna, Charlotte Wingfield|
|Malta Karate Federation||Luke Galea|
|Malta Pool Association||Dejan Grech|
|Malta Sailing Federation||Antonia Schultheis, Victoria Schultheis|
|Malta Shooting Federation||Clive Farrugia|
|Malta Table Football Sports Association||Valletta Subbuteo Club|
|Malta Bowling Association||Cynthia Duca, Tiziana Carranante, Dennis Mercieca|
|Malta Weightlifting Association||Kim Camilleri Lagana, Mixed National Team (Vlad Baldacchino, Shaun Ciantar, , Anton Micallef, Roberta Tabone, Yazmin Zammit Stevens)|
The highest level of award presented during the Gala evening, the Gold Award category recognises medal winners at Olympic Games or Commonwealth Youth Games as well as International Championships and other high level events. Silver medal winners at Commonwealth, Mediterranean and European Games as well as those athletes placing in the top eight places at Olympic Games.
The winners for the year 2021 were Jordan Gusman (Athletics) who with an impressive performance won the 3000 meters race in the European Team Championships held in Cyprus and not only set a national record but also achieved the best time in all four divisions of the European Team Championships Teams including the Super League. Sabrina Grima (Body Building and Fitness) winner of the IFBB Diamond Cup and the Elite Pro which took place in Malta. Richard Schultheis (Sailing) was presented with the Gold award for the impressive victory in the twenty-niner division of the Euro Cup, another victory in the same discipline in the competition in Kiel, in the Italian and German nationals, won in the WASZP foiling competition in Italy as also for second place in the World Championships. The Valletta Subbuteo Club (Table Football) team made up of Samuel Bartolo, Angelo Borg, Joseph Borg Bonaci, Mark Camilleri, Derek Conti and Mark Gauci, winner of the Major of Frameries in Belgium and winner of the Malta Grand Prix and who are first in world rankings.
The winners for this year were Judoka and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Katryna Esposito; Clifferty Calleja, representing the Malta Horse Racing Club, who in Florence became world champion for amateur horse drivers. Veteran bowler Sue Abela, winner of the gold medal in the European Championships of Champions; winner of the Gibraltar Open Seniors Category as well as third place in the Senior Open in Rome; Mediterranean Games Silver Medallists in Tennis doubles, Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese whilst weightlifter Tenishia Thornton was recognised for her gold medal in the World Youth Championships and another gold medal in the European Youth Championships as well as a bronze medal in the Commonwealth championships.
The Maltese Olympic Committee also recognised six Olympians, who formed part of the Maltese contingent at the Tokyo 2020 Games. These athletes were Carla Scicluna (Athletics) who took part in the 100m, Andrew Chetcuti (Swimming) who took part in the 100m freestyle event and Sasha Gatt, one of Malta’s youngest Olympians who made her Olympic debut in Tokyo in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events. Matthew Abela (Badminton) made his Olympic debut in the singles events, Eleanor Bezzina (Shooting) competed in the 10m and 25m events, whilst Yazmin Zammit Stevens (Weightlifting) also made her debut in the 64kg category.
In addition to the awards and recognitions the Maltese Olympic Committee recognised Olympian Neil Agius (Swimming) and former National athlete (Triathlon) Fabio Spiteri who made use of their respective disciplines to create awareness on the threat marine life and biodiversity are facing and to raise funds for local animal sanctuaries.
Once again the MOC recognised those local councils who made a contribution towards the development of sport in their respective community. In 2021, six Local Councils submitted their application to be considered for these awards, whilst this year seven nominations were received. The winners for these Awards were presented to Zejtun Local Council and Munxar Local Council who garnered a third place in 2021 and 2022 respectively. In second place for this year and first place for 2021 the award was presented to Ghajnsielem Local Council, whilst second place for 2021 and first place for 2022 was given to Mellieha Local Council.
Former Secretary General Joseph Cassar, was presented with a Hall of Fame Special Award as a token of appreciation for his decades of service to the Maltese Olympic Committee. Cassar held the post of Secretary General since 1993 and member of the European Youth Olympic Festival Commission of the European Olympic Committees since 1988.
The Gala evening culminated in the induction of three individuals into the Hall of Fame This honour is bestowed upon former athletes, official and administrators who through their contributions left a mark in their respective disciplines and associations. Criteria also demands that these individuals are known for their integrity and regarded with high esteem amongst their peers for several years. This year’s inductees were Francis Bugeja who worked tirelessly for more than 50 years in the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association first as a secretary then president. He was the first Maltese referee to officiate in the final of the World Championships in Malta in 1971; Sports journalist Mario Meli, who from a young age was involved in several sporting disciplines and was also athletics champion in the 800m and 1500m events; and John Tabone. Hailing from a family of sportsmen, he was a founding member of Luxol Basketball Club and coached the sport for over 40 years.
The Maltese Olympic Committee expresses its gratitude to organising committee chairman William Beck and the rest of the team for the hard work put into the MOC Gala Sports Awards.
The 2022 MOC Gala Sports Awards were supported by Olympic Solidarity, European Olympic Committee, SportMalta, Full Marks/Joma, St. James Hospital Planet Physio, Welbee’s, The National Lottery, MITA (Malta Information Technology Agency), General Soft Drinks, Vini e Capricci, Medical Laboratory Services, Sterling Jewellers, AF Printworks Josies Bathrooms and Avanza Academy.