Laser class sailor Aquilina gets Athens Olympics invitation

The Malta Olympic Committee have issued a statement saying they have received confirmation of an invitation for Mario Aquilina to take part in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Aquilina, a member of the Birzebbuga Sailing Club, is currently the holder of the Malta Sailing Federation's Sailor of the Year Trophy and has been top of the Laser Standard ranking list for the past three years.

He has already participated in the Sydney Olympics and last year won a gold medal in the Games of Small States of Europe. This week Aquilina figured in the prestigious Spanish Cup and was fourth in his category.

In Athens next month, he will be competing in Laser Standard, one of the 10 different classes of boats to be used in the Olympic Games.

The Laser is a single-handed 4.23m dinghy, carrying one sail and weighing 57 kilos. This has been an Olympic boat since 1996. It is one of the most popular sailing dinghies worldwide and is the only Olympic Class of boat to be sailed competitively in Malta.

During the Athens Games there will be a total of 44 lasers in the Olympic Fleet.

Aquilina completes a Malta team of seven in Athens as he joins swimmers Angela Galea and Neil Agius, Double Trap shooter William Chetcuti, Tanya Blake and Darren Gilford, of athletics, and judoka Marcon Bezzina.

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