Fresh from the historic silver medal won in tennis during the recent Mediterranean Games, the Maltese Olympic Committee is stepping up its preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games that will be held in Birmingham this month.
Team Malta will be formed by 29 athletes from nine different disciplines for the Games that will be held in England between July 28 and August 9.
Squash player Kijan Sultana and weightlifter Tenishia Thornton were announced as Malta’s flag bearers during the opening ceremony of the quadrennial Games.
Sultana and Thornton have enjoyed a very positive year so far.
In fact, squash player Sultana has won several international tournaments this year while weightlifter Thornton is fresh from winning an historic gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Mexico and secured another top-placing at the European Union Cup last weekend.
The Commonwealth Games arrive just a few weeks after Malta’s participation at the Mediterranean Games in Oran, Algeria, where Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese brought home the country’s first-ever silver medal in tennis when placing second in the women’s doubles.
“The Mediterranean Games saw Team Malta achieve some remarkable results,” Charlene Attard, the MOC Director of Sport said.
“The silver medal won by Elaine Genovese and Francesca Curmi certainly stands out. However, there were also three wins registered in the singles events.
“Added to that we have also been pleased by the performance of Dan Bonello in the road race where with 30km go he was still with the leading peloton, but his bid was jolted when he suffered a puncture. However, he still managed a top 30 placing in a field of 75 participants.
“In shooting, Marlon Galea is continuing to show remarkable improvement and managed to reach the semi-finals in skeet with a new personal best score and just missed the final by one point.
“The MOC Technical Committee has already started talks with the other participating association to analyse their performances in Oran to try and see where we can improve and ensure they can perform better in future Games.”
Attard said that the Maltese Olympic Committee were awarded 25 spots through the open allocation process while three members of the weightlifting team, namely Tenishia Thornton, Yazmin Zammit Stevens and Roberta Tabone.
Malta will again be competing in the lawn bowls where four years ago managed to win an historic bronze medal in the women’s pairs.
On his part, Julian Pace Bonello thanked all the athletes that were in the running for selection.
He said that the MOC was grateful towards the government, Sport Malta and the Commonwealth Games Federation for the financial assistance received.
“Our goal in Birmingham is very clear, to try and achieve the best possible performance from every athlete in the contingent,” Pace Bonello said.
“We expect a national record or a personal best from all athletes. We believe that each member of our contingent has a strong potential and hopefully they can deliver the best possible result.”
Athletics: Claire Azzopardi, Charlotte Wingfield, Janet Richard, Carla Scicluna.
Badminton: Athletes: Matthew Abela, Sam Cassar.
Cycling: Aiden Buttigieg.
Judo: Isaac Bezzina, Katryna Esposito.
Lawn Bowls: Connie Rixon, Rosemarie Rixon, Rebecca Rixon, Iren Attard, Shaun Parnis, Mark Malogorski, Troy Lorimer, Peter Ellul.
Squash: Kijan Sultana, Colette Sultana, Niall Engerer, Lijana Sultana.
Triathlon: Danica Bonello Spiteri, Keith Galea.
Weightlifting: Tenishia Thornton, Yazmin Zammit Stevens, Roberta Tabone, Elisa Scicluna.
Wrestling: Gary Giordimaina, Adam Vella.
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