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GAME ON: Refurbished facilities are attracting more youngsters to basketball – Sultana

Ben Camille delves into the world of Maltese basketball during this week’s edition of GAME ON.

The Malta Basketball Association is currently stepping up its preparations ahead of next year’s Games of the Small States of Europe that will be held in Malta with the men’s and women’s national teams vying for a place on the podium.

Paul Sultana, the Malta Basketball Association president, said that COVID-19 had a very negative effect on Maltese players as it kept them away from not only competitive matches but also from being able to train.

“COVID-19 was a nightmare for Maltese basketball players,” Sultana said.

“For several months, our athletes were in a lockdown as not only they couldn’t compete, but they couldn’t even train or even go out for a jog.

“For an athlete, if you cannot play because of injury or suspension you can accept it but in the situation we found ourselves in due to COVID-19 it was very frustrating and had a very negative effect from a psychological point of view.”

In the past few months, the Malta Basketball Association have refurbished their premises at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion, thanks to the assistance of SportMalta, and turned it into a high-level facility.

Sultana said that their newly-refurbished facilities in Ta’ Qali are attracting more youngsters to the sport.

“In the past one would step into the old pavilion and had little to be excited about with the cold and humid conditions he found himself in,” Sultana said.

“But today things are different as when you step in, you feel more attracted to play in it.

“We have young players starting at the age of seven or eight-years-old who come to practise the sport in beautiful surroundings.”

On her part, women’s national team player Steffi De Martino said that they are looking forward to next year’s Games in Malta where they are hopeful of winning a medal on home soil.

“We are currently stepping up our preparations for next year’s GSSE in Malta,” De Martino said.

“Unfortunately, last year we didn’t have the result we wanted in the European Championships for Small States but on that occasion, we had many youngsters who were in their first experience at international level.

“So, no doubt that experience will have surely helped them in their formation and will be useful for next year’s tournament where we hope we can win a medal for Malta.”

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