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19990603_Laurie Pace leads judo squad to another success

    Veteran Judoka Laurie Pace led the judo squad to another successful performance at the Small Nations Games in Liechtenstein last week.
    One gold medal, three silvers and a bronze was the final outcome on 25 May, the day the tournament was held in Liechtenstein.
    Taking everything into consideration, it was a personal success, not only for the judokas who managed to win the medals, but also for the Russian coach Sergei Telliouk and the association whose policy has been vindicated. 
    When saying taking everything into consideration, I mean that it has to be noted that the squad was heavily depleted this time round through the absence of several medal winners in Reykjavik two years ago.
    This time there was no Jackie Xuereb, Kamilla Peter and John Zammit, all of whom had won gold medals in the Iceland Games. There was also no Silvano Cristauro, injured a few weeks before the Games and therefore ruled out. And even Vanessa Grima Baldacchino, a potential medal winner, had to remain home after her category was scratched due to lack of entries.
    I am sure it would have been a more successful story for judo squad had all these elements been available in Vaduz.
    Yet, the results speak for themselves, and the relative newcomers as well as the established judokas, Laurie Pace and Jason Trevisan, gave a very good account of themselves.
    Laurie Pace emerged triumphant in the 57kg category. It was deserved reward for such a dedicated athlete who had never given up hope that one day she world be rewarded.
    I simply hope that Laurie will not call it a day now. I am sure still still had a lot to offer and, as the MJA president Envic Galea said, we all hope that she will qualify to present Malta in the Sydney 2000 Olympics next year.
    Fer Jason Trevisan, it was another confirmation as he retained the silver medal won two years ago, but he also had the great satisfaction of beating the gold medallist two years ago, against whom Trevisan had lost in the final
    Remarkable were the successes of newcomers Rebecca Wright and Tonio Schembri who won the silver medals.
    For Caroline Attard, it was sweet success after an absence of six years. In fact, she had last taken part in the 1993 event in Malta where she had won a bronze medal. She repeated the feat in Liechtenstein.
    As  for the other judokas, it is true they failed in their quest to land a medal and their disappointment was  evident. Yet I am positively were that Reuben Micallef, Darren Casha and Sadia Mizzi will all be in the news in the future. They are still very young and judging from their performances, it is evident that the taking. This was certainly a great experience for them from which they will learn a lot.
    Coach Sergei Telliouk must be commended for these results. As Laurie Pace said after winning the gold medal, she owed a lot to him for her success,  as well as all the other successful judokas.
    In his own inimitable way, Telliouk had encouraged all the judokas throughout the past 18 months of preparations to get them in trim for this event. He knew where they could possibly win and was successful.
    I sincerely hope that the association and the Malta Olympic Committee will now delve deeply into these results and possibly extend his contract for another term.
    Well done to the Judo Association. Thanks to these results, it has maintained its image of a successful organisation which merits more interest not only from youngsters who wish to take up the sport, but also by the authorities who should provide all possible support in the hope that judo will continue to flourish on these islands.

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