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MOC with a contingent of 22 for New Delhi

Double Trap shooter William Chetcuti with Delhi team-mates Rebecca Camilleri (left) and Eleanor Bezzina.

Double Trap shooter William Chetcuti with Delhi team-mates Rebecca Camilleri (left) and Eleanor Bezzina.

The Maltese Olympic Committee (MOC) yesterday announced a contingent of 22 athletes for the Delhi Games between October 3 and 14.

For the country, this will be a 10th showing in the multi-sport event that sees the participation of 72 Commonwealth countries, including strong sporting nations Australia and England.

Since our first participation in Cardiff, in 1958, Maltese athletes were among the medal winners on four occasions.

Four years ago, in Melbourne, Malta achieved its best-ever performance in these Games as Rebecca Madyson won silver in Trap shooting and William Chetcuti placed third in Double Trap.

Chetcuti and Madyson are again in the MOC team that features representatives from six sport, namely, athletics, shooting, squash, lawn bowls, weightlifting and wrestling.

MOC president Lino Farrugia Sacco yesterday made no secret of his organisation’s ambition to see the Maltese achieve excellent results.

“Given the high level of participation, we have to be realistic on our chances in New Delhi,” he said.

“Still, we’re heading to India with the intention of achieving satisfactory results. The selection process was stringent and we only picked those who met the required standards.

“In the previous Games, we won two medals and although I don’t want to commit myself in terms of results, I do hope we manage another place on the podium.

“All those selected have reached a high level of preparation and that fills us with great confidence. It also strengthens our belief that our athletes can finish among the top 10 in each event.”

In Double Trap, Chetcuti will be joined by the upcoming Nathan Lee Xuereb as Kate Cassar joins Madyson in women’s Trap.

Jason John Aquilina and Nazzareno Attard will also line up for the Trap shoot in New Delhi and Darren Vella and Clive Farrugia will compete in Skeet.

Malta will also be represented in indoor shooting through William Vella (air rifle) and Eleonor Bezzina (air pistol).

Meanwhile, there are also high hopes in squash with the MOC hopes hinging on Bradley Hindle Deguara and Michael Fiteni.

“Hindle Deguara has been in top form lately,” Director of Sport Mark Cutajar said.

“This week he reached the quarter-finals of the Irish Open. We are hopeful that, along with Fiteni, he can make inroads in New Delhi.”

In lawn bowls, the Malta team is again formed of players based in Australia. These are: Brendan Aquilina, Leonard Callus, Michael Debono, Shaun Parnis, Joe Saragozza, Carmen Spiteri and Frank Vella.

In track and field, Rebecca Camilleri steps up in the long jump. This year she established a new national record of 6.22m.

Wrestler Abraham Vassallo, who is set to make a final appearance on the international scene, and weightlifter Emanuel Schembri are the other two members in Team Malta for New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the run-up to Delhi 2010 has been dominated by the several problems hampering the organisers at this crucial stage of the Games. MOC chef-de-mission Julian Pace Bonello sounded unconcerned.

“We have read a lot about the difficult build-up to these Games,” he said.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation but I’m confident that everything will be ready in time. The venues are now almost close to completion and the security measures are of the highest order... I’m sure these Games will be a success.”

Asked whether the MOC was concerned by reports of dengue fever cases in New Delhi, Lucienne Attard, the assistant chef-de-mission, replied: “We are taking all precautions necessary to make sure the Maltese contingent in India will be safe. We have taken the advice of international health organisations about this and they’ve given us guidelines to follow... we are not leaving anything to chance.”

Scholarships

The MOC yesterday also announced that five sportsmen/ women have been awarded Olympic Solidarity Scholarships that will help them step up their preparation for London 2012.

The five recipients are shooters Chetcuti, Farrugia and Aquilina, sailor Maya Podesta and judoka Marcon Bezzina.

“It’s the first time that the MOC had five athletes nominated for these scholarships,” Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco said.

“This is testament that the IOC is giving us their full backing and keen to invest their resources in the ability of Maltese athletes. These scholarships will help those selected to maximise their talent in time for the next Olympic Games.”

Delhi Contingent

Athletics: R. Camilleri.

Lawn bowls: B. Aquilina, L. Callus, M. Debono, S. Parnis, J. Saragozza, C. Spiteri, F. Vella.

Squash: B. Hindle Deguara, M. Fiteni.

Shooting: J.J. Aquilina, N. Attard, E. Bezzina, K. Cassar, W. Chetcuti, C. Farrugia, R. Madyson, D. Vella, W. Vella, N.L. Xuereb.

Weightlifting: E. Schembri.

Wrestling: A. Vassallo.

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