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19970613_Icelandmania

    What a week! My colleagues who were in Iceland reporting the Small Nations Games must have been very tired roaming around the venues but in the end, their venture was rewarding. We managed to surpass the tally of gold medals achieved on home soil. At least we avoided the bottom rung in the medals table. The general consensus would be that our athletes fared well apart from one or two disappointments.
    I have always been critical of Maltese sports and being a pessimist by nature, I will try to evaluate objectively the performance of the Maltese in Iceland.
    I was pretty much surprised by the success registered in table tennis. Months ago, I had written about the possibility of Lu Liping forming part of the national team. This move yielded its dividends as Liping and his compatriot Shan Chen inspired the whole table tennis clan to a surprise result.
    Judo was definitely a masterpiece. All the judokas who went to Iceland returned with a medal. Jackie Xuereb confirmed her potential winning her third consecutive gold medal. In Luxembourg, she was the only athlete to win gold and avoid total embrrassment for Malta. 
    Xuereb should be given the opportunity to train professionally abroad. In Malta in 1993, her victory came as a surprise and some even had the cheek to evaluate her gold medal as a stroke of luck. In Luxembourg she silenced her critics by triumphing again in her category and the same thing happened a few days ago in Iceland.
    The Malta Judo Association proved that all the money and effort pumped into this sport was not in vain. They should be proud of their achievement.
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