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19990316_International Malta Open attracts 54 foreign athletes

    The Malta Judo Federation and Associated Disciplines organised their fifth International Malta Judo and Kendo Open. 
    In the Maltacom Judo Open, 54 foreign athletes confronted the national team pool. Judokas from England. Scotland, The Republic of Ireland, Germany, Italy and Sicily accepted the invitation of the federation and selected their best athletes to attend this ever growing international open.
    At the opening ceremony, Mr Meilaq, chairman of the Maltacom Corporation, said that he was impressed how this sport "exploded" in Malta and promised his continued support to Judo Federation who gives such importance to the youth sector.
    He said this while Chris Busuttil, MJF youth drector, and Tano Scerri youth instructor at the Hibernians Youth Club, were leading in a team of very young judokas  which the federation calls "Dragons" for the never ending energy they always have in reserve. 
    These little fire-breathing Dragons showed some of the skills learned during their nursery lessons sponsored by Maltacom. Nicky Vella finished the short judo show by throwing Chris Busurril all over the judo mats.
    It was then the turn of Elwanda Libreri and Greta Busurril to give us a demonstration of their skills in floor gymnastics.
    Judo and gymnastics are very close in spirit and preparation and the day before, the Education Department had held their very successful finals in gymnastics in the small hall.
    The federation was very pleased to make available their judo mats for the floor exercises once again as in the past years. It is hoped that the two federations continue to collaborate to develop their respective sports.
    The last item in the opening ceremony was a demonstration of Kendo, the Japanese art of fencing, picking up popularity since its introduction a few years ago and the formation of the Kendo Association last September, now that Shinobu Nakamura, Brown belt in Kendo, joined the ranks of the Bushido Judo Kendo Club.
    The judo events started with the lightweight category. The 60 kilograms had 10 entires, contested by Sicily, England, Italy and Malta. Two athletes competing for their place in the Small Nations Games, Reuben Micallef and Darren Casha, were among the 10 athletes. 
    Both of them qualified second in their pool and made it to the final, however, another Maltese athlete, Clifton Gilford, also made it to second place in his pool to show up in the finals. 
    In the finals only Darren Casha made it to the podiums the other Maltese were eliminated.
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