MOC names 33-strong contingent for Melbourne Commonwealth Games
by HENRY BRINCAT
The Malta Olympic Committee yesterday named a 33-strong contingent for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next month.
The 33 athletes hail from eight different sport disciplines, that are basketball, cycling, lawn bowls, shooting, squash, swimming, table-tennis and weightlifting.
Fourteen of them are resident in Australia, among them the well known Simon Gerada who has become Malta’s top table-tennis player and won double gold at the last Small Nations Games in Andorra last June.
The whole contingent is made up of the following athletes:
Basketball (women’s team): Caroline Fenech, Kirsten Micallef, Doreen Parnis, S. Schembri Wismayer, Bever Lee Zammit, Dawn Aquilina, Antoinette Borg, Greta Zarb, Fiona Schembri, Josephine Grima, Sara Pace, Rachel Camilleri.
Cycling (time trials, road race): Nick Formosa, David Treacey, Stephania Magri, Jack Schiavone, Etienne Bonello.
Lawn Bowls (Singles, pairs and triples): Joe Attard, Leonard Callus, Shaun J. Parnis, Victor A. Brincat, Alfred J. Vella, Francis M. Vella.
Shooting (target, trap and double trap): William Chetcuti, Rodney Micallef, Frans Pace, Stanley Cardona, Rebecca Madyson.
Squash (singles men): Joe Desira.
Swimming (50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly) Angela Galea.
Table-Tennis (singles/doubles men): Simon Gerada, Wayne Gerada.
Weightlifting: 75kg women: Lindsay Borg.
MOC director of sport Pippo Psaila made it clear that no one was going to Melbourne for a holiday. He added that he was expecting all athletes to act as real Maltese ambassadors – to do their best in their own name, as well as that of the country, the MOC, the federations who have nominated them and the Maltese in Australia, who should not be let down.
Psaila said all athletes had obtained their Minimum Qualifying Standards and praised the Amateur Athletics Association for refraining from making nominations, not because their athletes did not reach the MQS’s (in fact they did last year), but simply because at this time of the year, they are not at their peak and are well below their normal top levels.
He also said the MOC did not accept requests from individuals who wanted to pay the expenses out of their own pockets to be there. “We did not accept such requests. No one can buy his way into our squad. We will never compromise with anyone over standards,” he said.
He added that the MOC wanted the athletes to win more medals of a better colour, that is either silver or gold. In previous editions, Malta had won bronze medals.
He also said that 14 of the athletes were resident in Australia. “This is a record in itself, but they also had to be filtered through our selection process before they were accepted to represent Malta. For the first time, Malta is also taking part in basketball, women’s cycling, women’s shooting (target), squash, lawn bowls and table-tennis,” he remarked.
MOC president Mr Justice Lino Farrugia Sacco congratulated the athletes who will be representing Malta, adding that it was an honour for them to have been selected for representation.
He added that the MOC wanted to improve upon what was built during the past 10 years. “We do not want to see the Maltese flag during the Opening and Closing Ceremonies only. We also wish to see it on the poles behind the podium. Although it will be hard, we are convinced that our athletes will be getting good results in these Games,” he said.
He added that these Games will be of a high standard considering that there will be top athletes from England, Canada, Australia and India, at least, taking part.
He went on to say that the MOC was spending around Lm45,000 for the Maltese contingent’s participation at these Games, adding that around 15 officials, including coaches, will be accompanying the athletes. “We have not announced any bonus for successful athletes yet and we do not intend to do that before the Games. The athletes know that they have always been rewarded for their successes in the past. And we would like to see as many athletes as possible on the podium, even if that would increase the financial burden. We hope this will be another positive experience,” he said.