Sport relies heavily on those people who give their time freely for the good of their chosen discipline, table tennis is no exception and such people are especially important in the world’s smaller associations.
Such a person is Joe Borg Cardona, he has been the backbone of table tennis in the small Mediterranean island of Malta since time in memoriam and on the morning of Monday 16th March 2009 he can reflect in his bank manager’s seat on a job well done.
The first ever ITTF Junior Circuit event to be held in Malta concluded on Sunday 15th March 2009 in style; it concluded with a visit from Lawrence Gonzi, the island’s Prime Minister.
Distinguished Guests Lawrence Gonzi was accompanied by Clyde Puli, Parliamentary Secretary of Youth and Sports and Bernard Vassallo, the President of the Malta Sports Council.
The three dignitaries were welcomed by Joe Borg Cardona, David Azzopardi, the Tournament Director and Raul Calin, ITTF Global Junior Programme Director.
Television Show “When the tournament had finished, Mr. Cardona and myself went to the national television channel "Net TV" where we participated in "Sport Extra", a Sport Magazine live programme from 17.00 to 18.00 hours; together with a representative of the Maltese Judo Federation and the National Junior Netball team”, explained Raul Calin. “In the television show we highlighted the fact that 16 national associations from four continents had participated; thus giving table tennis great exposure in Malta; also we discussed the similarities that Malta possesses with countries that have a similar number of inhabitants.”
A place in a television show and a visit from the Prime Minister were certainly positives moves, top marks for the Malta Table Tennis Association. The opportunity to discuss the current situation of table tennis on the island and plan for the future may well prove invaluable.
Shared Views “With the Prime Minister, we discussed the importance of hosting an event like the ITTF Junior Circuit for a country like Malta, where the national cadet and junior players can benefit from international exchange”, continued Raul Calin. “Also we shared views for the future for hosting even major events as Malta possesses the potential to attract sport events and tourism at the same time.”
Potential Undoubtedly that is true and geographically Malta is well situated, the European island is quite accessible from both Asia and Africa.
There is potential to build as in many similar small nations; in Malta thanks to the initiatives of Joe Borg Cardona and his colleague, potential may well become reality.
Clyde Puli (Parliamentary Secretary of Youth and Sports) and David Azzopardi, (Tournament Director) look on as in the centre of proceedings Lawrence Gonzi (Prime Minister), Raul Calin (ITTF Global Junior Programme Director), Joe Borg Cardona (President Malta Table Tennis Association) and Bernard Vassallo, (President of the Malta Sports Council) discuss the possibilities open to Malta.