Clifton Grima, the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport, told the Times of Malta that government is set to start the second phase of the National Shooting Range in Ta’ Kandja, which will see the construction of indoor shooting facilities, in the coming months.
The National Shooting Ranges were unveiled in 2018 following the completion of the first phase of the project which consisted in the construction of ranges for clay shooting.
These ranges played host to the World Cup shoot which was held in Malta in June of 2019.
At the end of these major championships, the shooting fraternity was hoping to see the start of the second phase of the project but the plans were put on hold for the past two years.
However, in an interview with the Times of Malta, Dr Grima announced that the government is now planning to start works in the next few weeks to ensure that indoor shooters will have their own facilities to practice their sport.
“The National Shooting Ranges were one of the biggest projects that were ever completed in the history of Maltese sport,” Dr Grima said.
“This project was completed at a crucial time for us when we were going to host the World Cup in Malta and at the end of the competition, we received a lot of praise from all the participants from around the world for the excellent facilities we provided.
“The World Cup put Malta on the map of international shooting and now we have a top-notch clay shooting facility. As regards the second phase, we are now planning to start works in the coming months.”
Dr Grima said that in the past years, the government had embarked on several projects, both infrastructural as well as technical, to ensure that the Maltese athletes are given the right tools so they can be competitive on the international scene.
“This is not a process that we started yesterday – and it looks at different levels in sport.
“There are a number of infrastructural projects that are essential to ensure that our country keeps the pace with other nations and added to that we have also investing in the athletes themselves when we provided them with a €5 million grant for the technical preparation ahead of the 2023 GSSE.
“This is a project that puts sport at the top of the government’s agenda and that looks at the various sectors so it’s crucial that it is well planned and sustainable.
“We are not just building sporting facilities but we want to make sure that we have the funds to maintain them in the best condition. There are some projects that can start immediately and others that need time before they are completed so that the athlete can fully benefit from them.”
In the past months, there was a lot of discussion on the situation of Maltese sport, particularly after Malta’s disappointing showing in the Tokyo Olympics where our athletes looked well short of challenging for a top placing let alone a medal.
Asked whether it was time to revise the structure of how sport is managed in Malta and may be look at appointing full-time performance directors within the Maltese Olympic Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport said that it may be something that will be done in the future.
However, the Parliamentary Secretary said that he is still pleased with the work carried out by the Maltese Olympic Committee and the local federations.
“In Maltese sport, we have a lot of people who work on voluntary basis and we should look at strengthening this sector,” Dr Grima said.
“In an ideal world, it would be good that everyone who works in sports administration will be employed full-time. I will not delve on what other countries do to achieve success but I prefer to focus on what we are doing.
“I think that eventually the natural step for Maltese sport is that we will have parts of our administration that are employed on full-time basis.
“But without taking away any merits on how the technical preparation was conducted, I had access on how work was carried out and I must say it was very professional. Wouldn’t it be better if we had someone who is totally focused on this work? Obviously yes.
“But we need to keep in our mind on the size of our country and look from where we started and where we are. There are countries that focused only on a number of disciplines and forgot about the others. We didn’t do that as we invested on all sports and today we are starting to see the results of this investment.
“Maybe we have taken a longer road than other countries but there is a process going on that will gurantee a stronger basis for the future that will enable us to get the results we all wish for.
“The huge investment the government has put into the athletes’ technical preparation for the 2023 GSSE is aimed at achieving a very ambitious result in two years’ time. But I am looking at that sporting appointment not as a finishing point but the start to achieve something bigger.
“My dream is to see Maltese athletes on the Olympic podium but to achieve that there are a lot of factors that play part and everyone need to be united behind one goal if we are to reach this objective.”