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19950618_Showing the flag... on your leave

    Unlike most of the other competitors at the Small Nations Games, Malta's athletes quickly forget the glory of winning medals for their country. Most of them are now back at jobs far removed from the world of international sports. 
    From factory floor to office building, the young men and women who have done much to enhance Malta's name in the sporting world have returned to a routine that makes one wonder how they ever managed to do as well as they did. 
    Judo gold medallist Jackie Xuereb. for example, works from 7 am to 4 pm at Lloyds Shoe Manufacturers in San Gwann. Because she is very dedicated she also trains every evening at the National Pool. But according to the Malta Judo Association, the facilities there are far from good. They have been promised better but nothing is as yet forthcoming.
    Lack of good facilities is not the only hurdle many of our athletes have to contend with. The Malta Independent recently discovered that in order to represent our country at international events Maltese sportsmen and women have to deduct the time spent from their annual leave. Such was the case for Ms Xuereb for the recent Small Nations Games in Luxembourg. 
    Mr Hohmann says no agreement exists between the government and companies who employ athletes to enable them to compete without worrying about their loss of leave. Pity, because in Ms Xuereb's case she will not be able to compete in any more competitions this year because she has no leave left.