Launch of SportMalta Awards - Na­tional Sports Con­tests

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Henry Brin­cat

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

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