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Olympic Day commemorated in Malta

By June 24, 2021Events, News

Two Olympic Themed Gardens launched in St. Paul’s Bay and Għarb, Gozo, Bust of Baron Pierre de Coubertin installed at MOC Headquarters

The Maltese Olympic Committee joined other Olympic Committees worldwide to celebrate Olympic Day on June 23rd.

Whilst the usual events tied to Olympic Day had to be toned down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maltese Olympic Committee undertook a programme of activities spearheaded by MOC Secretary General Joseph Cassar.

The first activity of the day was the launch of an Olympic garden in Għarb Gozo, which saw the installation of the Olympic Rings and  flame as well as the bust of modern Olympics founder,  Baron Pierre de Coubertin.  The Olympic flame was lit by Gozitan athletes Stefan Azzopardi (Athletics) and Guzeppina Galea (Cycling – Special Olympics) in the presence of  Għarb Mayor David Apap and the Minister for Gozo, Hon. Clint Camilleri.

Stefan Azzopardi (Athletics) and Guzeppina Galea (Special Olympics – Cycling) lighting the Olympic Flame. Photo Credit: Maria Vella-Galea

MOC Secretary General Joseph Cassar noted the symbolism of the event, tied to Olympic Day celebrations and how the Olympic message is not just about winning medals but a message of value, fair play and the pursuit of excellence.

Following the launch in Għarb, the MOC launched the renovation of the Masġar Olimpiku in St. Paul’s Bay. Works on the project were undertaken by St. Paul’s Bay’s Local Council. A bust of Pierre de Coubertin, which had been stolen a few years ago, was replaced and was inaugurated by MOC President Mr. Julian Pace Bonello, St. Paul’s Bay Mayor Mr. Alfred Grima and Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Recreation and Voluntary Organizations Clifton Grima.  The Olympic flame was lit by Matthew Abela (Badminton), who is one of the athletes forming part of the Maltese contingent in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Sasha Gatt (Swimming), Gabriel Farrugia (Athletics) and Jessica Vella (Karate).

Matthew Abela (Badminton) preparing to light the flame, accompanied by Gabriel Farrugia (Athletics), Sasha Gatt (Swimming), Gabriel Farrugia (Athletics) and Jessica Vella (Karate). and Jessica Vella (Karate). Photo Credit: Christian Cauchi

The extensive works carried out in the area included the replacing of the old Olympic Rings and Flame installation, cleaning of the area which is earmarked for the potential installation of a ropes course.

Following the inauguration, MOC President Julian Pace Bonello explained how Olympic Day is more than just the opportunity to celebrate sports but it is a day where becoming active should be encouraged even further as one discovers the possibilities for personal development sports offers. He concluded by quoting Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee “Together we can make this world a better place through sport”.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sport, Recreation and Voluntary Organizations Clifton Grima recalled what Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin had said that the Olympic Games are a celebration that unites the world together.

During the unveiling of the monument dedicated to the founder of the Olympics, the Parliamentary Secretary mentioned how this human celebration in the form of the Games Small States of Europe will be marked in May 2023, when Malta will celebrate a feast of diversity and the bringing together of different cultures.

Photo Credit: Christian Cauchi

The third bust of Baron de Coubertin was installed at the MOC Headquarters later on in the afternoon. These installations were made possible through Olympic Solidarity.

The Maltese Olympic Committee would like to thank Għarb and St. Paul’s Bay Local Councils, the Ministry for Gozo and the Parliamentary Secretariat for Sport, Recreation and Voluntary Organizations.

Activities surrounding the Olympic Day, which this year is supported by Toyota,  are taking place virtually until the 30th June and all the general public are invited to take part.  More information can be found on – http://nocmalta.org/activities/olympic-day-run-2021/