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19930528_Jacqueline Xuereb lands first gold for Malta

    Jacqueline Xuereb was the hero of the whole Maltese contingent yesterday evening when she became the first to win a gold medal for Malta in this edition of the Small Nations Games.
    She covered herself with glory as she won the under 52kg category for women at the Gozo Sports complex, and soon afterwards, the news spread like lightning to reach Malta in what seemed just a few seconds. It was greeted with delight in Malta on a day of several success for Maltese athletes. 
    Xuereb, who has been in England recently, was in splendid form winning her two matches in a few seconds to the delight of the numerous fans from Gozo and those who crossed over from Malta. 
    Xuereb won the semi-final against Nuria Balseels Zufferi of Andorra and then went on to bear Paola Arzilli of San Marino in the final. 
    Laurie Pace also performed as she won the silver medal in the under 61kg category. She lost in the final against Brigit Blum of Liechtenstein, a long time rival.
    Other medal winners in Gozo yesterday evening included Jason Trevisan, who won the bronze in the men's under 71kg category, John Zammit in the men's under 60kg, Manuel Cassar in the men's under 86kg category and Caroline Attard in the women's under 56kg category.
    Mr Envic Galea, president of the Malta Judo Association, was another happy man yesterday. 
    In a brief comment, he said the whole squad was very happy with their achievement at the Gozo Sports Complex.
    "Usually we are accustomed to our silver and bronze medal. This tournament saw us doing much better. The results speak for themselves - a gold, a silver and four bronze," said Mr. Galea. 
    He said Jackie Xuereb had left the best impression not only because she won the gold medal, but also beacuse of the way she won her matches - both were over in a few seconds.
    Jackie Xuereb was full of emotion and could not find the right words to express her delight, while Laurie Pace was disappointed at not having won the gold against Blum.
    Another disappointed judoka was Jason Trevisan, who said he had to go through three bouts to win a bronze, while ion earlier editions, he played twice to win a silver.