When Danica, Keith and Hannah will step on the Start Line of the Triathlon race in Bilgah Beach, North of the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku this weekend, it will be one amazing historical moment for the history of Triathlon in Malta. The presence of our team, so aptly coordinated by our National Coach, Dermot Galea, will be marking the start of a brand new dawn for Triathlon Malta and the conclusion of two long years of silent yet effective, behind the scene work for the Executive Board at MTF.
Cyp Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon Federation shares his experience: 'I have to admit that I had to google 'Baku' when I first heard about the name of this city. It was during the annual meeting of European Triathlon Union's Presidents' Congress in Warsaw (January 2013) that I learnt about the project to hold the first edition of the European Games in this city. I was thrilled that Triathlon will be one of the sports in these Games, but honestly, I thought that it will be close to impossible to have our athletes in Baku. However, being the type of person to check all viable options before closing the door on a dream, I tried garnering support for our presence in these Games. It seemed that, with the qualification system of the Olympic Games being practically unattainable for us, this might be the best opportunity to be part of such a great international sporting event.
Support to our quest soon began to sprout, both from the local scene from the Maltese Olympic Committee, and also from the international connections through the European Triathlon Union. Each time I met ETU President, Mr Renato Bertrandi, I would ask about our project to be part of the Games, and he always encouraged us with his support and smile.
Various meeting were held with the Maltese Olympic Committee especially after our participation last year in the Commonwealth Games, to coordinate our possible presence in Baku (even if it was still a pie in the sky at that stage). I have to say that both the designated Chef de Mission, Dion Buhagiar and Director of Sport Mario Micallef were extremely professional and helpful in this build-up, as were all the other directors of the MOC.
Finally, after more than two years in the making, the dream came true.
I was called for a meeting with MOC President, Mr Julian Pace Bonello who informed me that we had received the confirmation of two slots for Baku : a female and a male athlete. We were overjoyed, but we knew that it was just the beginning. After some days, we were once again called for a meeting and informed that we had received another female slot. We had honestly thought that one slot would have been a pinnacle for us - now we were having three!
Immediately we deployed our preparations and our three athletes participated in a number of international races and training camps and came back with some very positive results, which were a boost for them and for us.
Now, on the eve of the European Games, we are aware that the races will be anything but easy for us and our athletes but we are absolutely certain that our athletes will give their all in Baku, for themselves and for Triathlon Malta. To Danica, Hannah, Keith and Dermot, we wish the best of luck and we are sure they will make us proud during this weekend.
The Malta Triathlon Federation congratulates also Michelle Vella-Wood, triathlete and current National Duathlon Champion, as she will be taking part in the Cycling Road race in Baku.
It was not a straight-forward journey. Keeping focused and working hard for something which was, for a large extent, beyond us, was not easy. The background work carried by our Board members, especially by National Coach Dermot Galea in the preparations and logistic support, as well as Oswald Spiteri who was instrumental in distributing funding and collating all relevant material during the preparation phase of our athletes was crucial for a successful build-up for these games. As for me, seeing our athletes at par with the giants of our sport is a great feeling and a great satisfaction that repays months of work and coordination.
Finally, on behalf of the Malta Triathlon Federation, I would like to thank the Maltese Olympic Committee, the European Triathlon Union and the International Triathlon Union for all the support and guidance received in the preparations for these Games.'
The First Edition of the European Games in Baku will be inaugurated during a spectacular Opening Ceremony on Friday 12 June at 5pm. The Women Triathlon Race is scheduled for Saturday 13 June at 9:30am and the Men Triathlon Race for Sunday 14 June at 9:30am. Michelle's race will be held on Saturday 20 June at 9:00am.
The official website for the European Games is www.baku2015.com
Live online streaming of the events is expected to be transmitted on
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