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Readers Letter - “A meeting was held at the Gozo Ministry with Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, Stefan Buontempo, his chief of staff Paul Debattista and PA Saviour Debono Grech. There was also GFA President Mr. Alvin Grech and George Cini, MGOZ Secretariate Coordinator. Both myself, (Jaclyn Magrin) and Louis Debattista spoke on behalf of Gozitan athletes.
Louis Debattista, of Gozo Greyhounds Youth Athletic Club, does sports work on a voluntary basis with a number of Gozitan children and youths. His aim is to increase the number of children and youths participating in various sports in Gozo. He also takes his group up to Malta every Saturday to use the Marsa track for sprints, etc. Hence he and myself are teaming up to represent a joint-front since we are both fighting for the same thing.
The first apparent thing into the first few minutes of the meeting is that we all working towards the same goal – to increase sports awareness in Gozo and to better share and create sports facilities for all Gozitan usage.
On behalf of Gozo runners we stated that although there are a lot of us dedicated to our sport we do not have the proper facilities to practice it. We end up either running at the horse track which is unsafe because of the horses using this track as well as it being pitch black during early and late hours. The only other alternative is to use the streets which can be very unsafe, or else we have to travel to Malta to do sessions with our respective groups. These are not good alternatives as they just cause more injuries and incur more costs.
We went on to ask that the Ninu Cremona track be opened to the public and that lights be installed so that we can start doing our speed sessions for our Athletic work at the Nino Cremona Track. This track is to be opened shortly to be used by two football teams in Victoria as well by other sportive clubs.
The operative word being CLUB. In order for us to use the space we need to first of all be registered with a club, affiliated with the MAAA and KMS, and then to pass through an application requesting usage of such premises. Louis has already submitted the necessary paperwork to the KMS and is waiting the final go-ahead in order to start accepting official members to the Gozo Greyhounds Club.
We were told during our meeting with Dr Buontempo that the more that we are under one umbrella the better and as a club we can benefit from schemes such as transportation costs, sponsorships and entry to league races.
Another positive step discussed was the planned Gharb track, a three lane track which is being planned to enclose the football pitch. The football club will be provided with the turf but in return for this the track is to be made available for use by the public, however this will not be be realised until after this coming summer.
With regards to the swimming pool, Dr Buontempo was very straightforward and said that this is probably not viable in Gozo due to the costs it would incur in relation to the amount of people that would be using it. However Dr. Buontempo did mention the possibility of a pool in the north of Malta which would be at least viable for Gozitans to use, along with possible subsidies for Gozitans to be able to make good use of the pool.
We need kids & Youths to be safe running – we want to improve in sport – we want to stay active – we want to stay healthy – we want happy sports’ sessions for everyone! We need access to the Nino Cremona Track so that our kids and youths are kept safe whilst they excercise, and parents can relax with the knowledge that their children are exercising safely at the track.”