After a spectacular year for Maltese weightlifting, a shortlisting process, the winners of the MWA Awards for 2017 were announced at a successful awards ceremony on Friday 22nd December.
President of the MWA, Jesmond Caruana, kicked off the ceremony with an opening speech highlighting 2017’s most memorable achievements and spoke of what to expect from our athletes and coaching in the upcoming year. He mentioned the exciting fact that two weightlifters have managed to qualify for the commonwealth Games. Also, the 157 records that have been broken throughout 2017, 72 of which were broken on international platforms and the gold medal won in a high prestigious competition and many other achievements. He also spoke of the exciting year the MWA has ahead of them. Weightlifting athletes are set to take part in three different major multi-sport events next year. As previously mentioned, there are 2 athletes who qualified for the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast, Australia), qualification still underway for the Mediterranean Games (Tarragona, Spain) and the Youth Olympic Games (Buenos Aires, Argentina) where one of MWA’s youngest athletes, Shelby Mangion Vassallo, will be representing our island.
Numerous awards were handed out at the event, with many guests of honour present and also presenting the different awards to the athletes. Namely, the president of the Malta Olympic Committee, Julain Pace Bonello; General Secretary of the Malta Olympic Committee, Joseph Cassar; Direct of the Malta Olympic Committee, Mario Micallef and the MWA honorary President, Alfred Ellul Mercer.
The first parts of the ceremony were presented a total of 36 trophies for the best results in the National championships. The first award presented during the ceremony was the most improved new comer, with Keith Azzopardi taking the trophy for his impressive 35.23 point improvement in 2017. Michael Fava and Ryan Degiorgio were awarded with the Most Promising Award, an award which was given for their consistency through high results in competitions this year.
Another special thought of award was the ‘Commitment Awards’ which, as explained by President Jesmond Caruana, was decided to award the athletes that came back strongly from minor or major set backs and injuries. Rodmar Pulis, who had to take a break from the sport due to a shoulder injury in 2016 during his preparation to the Olympic Games, has now come close to his best results and therefore was awarded with this title at the ceremony. Another athlete, Elisia Scicluna, was also given this award after coming back very strongly from a knee operation that she underwent earlier this year that also cost her not being one of the athletes not representing Malta in the Commonwealth games next year.
Matthew Camilleri was given the ‘Initiative Award 2017’ for helping in managing the newest Malta Weightlifting Association gym in Naxxar. While Kieran Mifsud was awarded with the ‘Best Achievement’ award for breaking an incredible 49 total records this year.
To end the evening, awards were then given to the athletes based on their overall rank in 2017. At National stage level the awards went to, Elisia Scicluna, Andy Grech, Matthew Camilleri, Vlad Baldacchino and Shelby Mangion Vassallo with Shelby ranking on top of the national level ranking receiving the Bronze award. Finally, the Master Level titles were awarded to Kyle Micallef in third, Kieran Mifsud in second, and Yazmin Zammit Stevens who finished on top and honored with the Silver award.
The MWA are pleased to finish off another successful year, and have already started the preparations for another exciting year ahead. The MWA like to thank, SportMalta and Malta Olympic Committee for their continues support.