Launch of SportMalta Awards - National Sports Contests
SportMalta, together with the Ghaqda Gurnalisti Sportivi (Malta Sports Journalists Association), will again be organising the SportMalta Awards- National Sports Contests (Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali), a much anticipated event by all local sport enthusiasts especially athletes, coaches and sport administrators.
This year’s edition will take place on Saturday 25 February at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.
The event has developed year after year since their inception over 55 years ago where, during the first edition in 1960, Wilfred Pirotta was rewarded with the annual Sportsman Award - an event which has flourished in its popularity with the participation from associations and federations, sports journalists and the general public.
Addressing a news conference yesterday, the chairman of the organising committee, Mark Cutajar, said this event has become a must as it is only fair to recognise the efforts of the most successful athletes throughout the past year.
A number of new categories have been introduced over the years. This year’s edition, that will recognise the achievements in the different levels of sports, will comprise of the following categories:
Sportsman of the Year, Sportswoman of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Official of the Year, Male and Female Youth of the year and Award for the best initiative for the organisation of an international event in Malta, Male and Female Special Olympics Award, Best Gozitan Athlete and the SportMalta Award selected by the general public, popularly known as the People’s Choice.
He added that he is aware that the expense invested to organise such an occasion must be reasonable. He also mentioned the importance of transparency in the selection process and assured that there is a transparent and fair procedure which is another goal reached by the organising committee, also thanks to the journalists who are responsible for the selection of the winners through their votes. Only the People’s Choice award, in fact, is selected by the public’s votes.
He went on to give details about the final night at The Mediterranean Conference Centre which is to be hosted by Pamela Schembri.
He also announced that the presentation of certificates to those nominated by their associations or federations, is to be held on 7 February. For another year, the national broadcasting service PBS, will be transmitting the event live on TVM.
Sandro Micallef, General Secretary of the Malta Sports Journalists Association thanked SportMalta for accepting to organise these awards jointly with the GHGS for the eighth consecutive year. He appealed to the secretaries of the associations to actively participate in the nomination phase which closes on 20 January.
Micallef also encouraged sports journalists to give their contribution in the judging phase so that from 10 finalists, the number will then be reduced to five participants in each category before the voting stage during the final night.
Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, expressed his satisfaction that for yet another year two entities are working together towards a single goal. He stated that such a small country like Malta which is lacking in human resources cannot afford to have splinter associations. “Sports should be a source of unity,” he added.
It was good that instead of the previous two awards, an agreement had been reached after just a few weeks after his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary, to stage only one event.
He emphasised that there should also be mutual respect between athletes, coaches, administrators and journalists. He said that during this last year certain unpleasant incidents had been associated with sports but he claimed that this should not affect the celebration of Sport through the SportMalta Awards - Għażliet Sportivi Nazzjonali.
Luciano Busuttil, Chairman of SportMalta, said that this celebration serves as a showcase of talent of the local sports people who act as role models for those persons who wish to make that extra effort and take up sport as a profession.
He went on to say that this will be the first big event of the year for SportMalta and hoped it will be a highly successful event. History behind the Awards 55 years have elapsed since the much esteemed journalist Benny Pace dreamed of creating these awards through his journal “The Sporting Star’.
At that time, the choice was solely in the hands of the general public who voted for their preferred sportsperson who they believed deserved to win. Following this initial phase, the responsibility of the voting was passed on to the members of the Sports Journalists Association who used the traditional numerical sign system to cast their preferences during the event itself. Nowadays, on the final night, live voting utilising modern technology in a more professional and advanced way is used.
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius speaks during the press conference