The Maltese Olympic Committee honoured the achievements of local athletes during the last 12 months at the MOC Sports Awards which were held at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard last night.
Each year, the MOC recognise the efforts, commitment and results achieved by Maltese athletes competing in international sporting competitions organised under the auspices of the international federations of their particular discipline or a reputable international sporting organisations.
The gala night had as a special guest in San Marino trap shooter Alessandra Perilli, who won the gold medal in this year’s Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, Spain.
During last night’s presentation ceremony no athlete managed to return home with the prestigious Platinum Award which is awarded for an outstanding achievements such as podium places in an Olympic Games or gold or silver medals in either Commonwealth Games, Mediterranean Games or European Games.
The most prestigious accolade of the night turned out to be the Gold Award which had eight recipients.
The men’s basketball team were honoured after winning the gold medal at the European Championship for Small Countiries in Serravalle, San Marino earlier this summer. For Andrea Paccarie’s men this was their first triumph in the competition.
Double Trap shooter William Chetcuti, a gold medallist in the Cyprus Grand Prix, winner of the Para Trap competition in the Emirates Green Cup in Todi Italy, also received the Gold Award.
The other Gold Award recipients were trotter Rodney Gatt, who shone in the Mediterranean Championship, International Table Tootball Open winner Samuel Bartolo, weightlifter Yazmin Zammit Stevens, winner of a gold medal in an international tournament in Serbia, and tenpin bowler Justin Caruana Scicluna, a gold medallist at the Mediterranean Championship.
Raffa bowler Stefan Farrugia, winner a bronze medal at the Mediterranean Games, and Trap shooter Brian Galea and lawn bowlers Sharon Callus, Connie Rixon, Rebecca Rixon and Rosemaree Rixon, winners of a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, were rewarded with a Silver Award.
Julian Pace Bonello, the Maltese Olympic Committee president, praised the efforts of Maltese sportsman during the last 12 months.
“The Adjudicating Committee did not have an easy job when assessing the nominations,” Pace Bonello said.
“Maltese athletes have shown nothing but dedication and sacrifice to ensure the best possible performances on the international sphere.
“It is always encouraging to see returning faces to the awards, meaning that these athletes are still top of their game, whilst even more reassuring to see new and young faces which means a good promise for Maltese sport especially in view of the 2023 Games of the Small States of Europe which will be held in Malta.”
Hall of Fame
During last night’s ceremony, the Maltese Olympic Committee had four new inductees in its Hall of Fame.
Gymnastics coach Albert Chun, who passed away earlier this year, was the first to be inducted. Chun was the person who introduced competitive gymnastics to Malta in 1993 and was also the founder of the Malta Gymnastics Federations.
Chun brought with him over 35 years of international exposure to the sport.
Through his tutelage, Maltese gymnasts were able to compete in Mediterranean Games, Island Games, Games of the Small States of Europe as well as European, Commonwealth and World Championships, producing some good results on the way.
Basketball referee Emanuel Mangani was also honoured for his involvement in the sport for the past 40 years.
As a local referee he has referee top local games, demonstrating high values and respecting fair play. In 2007, he qualified as FIBA Commissioner, regularly officiating international games.
The other two Hall of Fame inductees were bowler Melissa Anastasi, a multi-medal winner for Malta in various Mediterranean, Commonwealth and European Championships both in singles as well as double competitions, and sailor administrator Jovin Rausi.
During his career, Rausi held many offices in sailing, including as president of the Malta Sailing Federation and the Malta Boating Association.
He was also international jury member of the Martini Middle Sea Races in the 1980s as well as filling the role of event director of sailing at the 1993 and 2003 GSSE in Malta.
The Award winners....
Men’s basketball national team; Rodney Gatt (horse racing), William Chetcuti, Alfred Ciappara (shooting), Samuel Bartolo (table football), Justin Caruana Scicluna (bowling), Yazmin Zammit Stevens (weightlifting).
Sara Xuereb (tenpin bowling); tenpin bowling national team – Sue Abela, Justin Caruana Scicluna, Sara Xuereb, Mauro Anastasi; weightlifting team – Yazmin Zammit Stevens, Elisia Scicluna, Vlad Baldacchino, Matthew Camilleri, Rodmar Pulis; Stefan Farrugia (bowls); J.J. Micallef (golf), Brendan Aquilina (lawn bowls); Lawn bowls women’s team – Sharon Callus, Connie Rixon, Rebecca Rixon, Rosemarie Rixon; Brian Galea (shooting); Elaine Genovese (tennis).
Rachel Fitz, Janet Richard, Charlotte Wingfield (athletics); Matthew Abela (badminton); Women’s basketball national team; Andrew Borg (golf); men’s golf national team – Nicholas Beck, Andrew Borg, Ruud Critien, J.J. Micallef; Brendan Aquilina, Shaun Parnis (lawn bowls); Eleonor Bezzina; Nathan Lee Xuereb (shooting); women’s tennis team – Helen Asciak; Elaine Genovese, Francesca Curmi; Brenda Galea; Emily Lightfoot; men’s tennis team – John Sciberras, Matthew Asciak, Denzil Agius, Omar Sudzuka, Matthew Cassar Torregiani; Sue Abela (tenpin bowling); Hannah Pace (triathlon).
Jacob Elaida, Mariah Zahra, Omar Elaida, Sarah Chouhal (athletics); Mark Abela, Samuel Cassar (badminton); Sabrina Villari, Chantal Graziani, Karim Ibrahim; Blanche Coppola, Ralph Decelis (bodybuilding); Marie Claire Aquilina (cycling); Laurens Schulze Doering (golf); Ella Borg (gymnastics); Malta U-23 pool team, Malta Over 50 pool team; Kijan Sultana (squash); Jamie Bonnici, Charles Aquilina, Jurgen Balzan, Jeshua Bonnici, Jason Pisani, Mario Camilleri (table football); Francesca Curmi (tennis); Richard Schultheis (sailing).