JOSEPH SCICLUNA WINS OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR AWARD

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It is hoped that through this award policy makers would be more convinced of the benefits that would accrue to the community should the Ghajnsielem Redcoats have a dedicated softball field

The Erasmus + Sport: Small Collaborative Partnerships project Inclusion & Gender Equality Through Softball (IGETS) has succeeded in putting the Ghajnsielem Redcoats well on their way to achieve very ambitious medium to long term objectives. During the first of two years since the start of the implementation of the project. the Club has experienced extensive exposure locally and internationally. This exposure helped the Redcoats bring high profile foreign coaches to Gozo for training camps and more importantly to coach the softball teams of the Club for an extended period. IGETS did not happen by accident. It was designed by the Club, who is the applicant and the manager of the project, with the collaboration of partners Olympia Haarlem of the Netherlands  and SK Princ Zagreb of Croatia.

The efforts of Club President, Joseph Scicluna, in relation to the implementation of IGETS along with other work which he does on a voluntary basis to promote sports especially in schools and to increase the female rate of participation in sports earned him the prestigious award of Official of the Year 2017 at the Gozo Sports Awards. The success story of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats which now boast of a sport academy with well over 140 youth and children enrolled with it, was also taken into consideration by the judges, as were the exploits of the two softball teams of the Redcoats who competed in the MABS Women’s Fastpitch Softball Tournament with one of them winning it.

The awards ceremony was held at the Grand Hotel on Friday, April 20. The award was presented to Joseph Scicluna by Minister for Gozo, Hon Dr Justyne Caruana, and by Gozo Sport Board Chairman, Mr Sean Daly. In his acceptance speech Mr Scicluna said that the Ghajnsielem Redcoats were established to provide opportunities for girls to play a sport and in just six years significant progress was made with very important objectives were achieved. The Club now has female youth players who practice for twelve hours per week under the guidance of US coaches. Their objective is not merely to be the best in Malta and Gozo, their ambition is to be good enough to play at the highest level in Europe for Club and country. This, despite the fact they don’t have a proper field where to practice and play softball. He added that he is  convinced that should the authorities provide a dedicated softball field for these players they would certainly achieve their ambition and make their country proud of them. He went on to dedicate the award to the softball players of the Club who work so hard so that the game continues to gain in popularity in Malta.

There were two other awards where the Club had finalists. Estelle Scicluna, the pitcher for the Redcoats women’s softball team, just missed out by just five points from claiming her 2nd Most Promising Female Athlete award coming in second despite receiving maximum points from three of the five judges. Whereas the Women’s softball team came in third out of five finalists in the Team of the Year category.

This was the second time in four years that Joseph Scicluna won the Official of the Year award, which is a great honour for the Ghajnsielem Redcoats and for the sport of softball and baseball in Gozo. It is hoped that through this award policy makers would be more convinced of the benefits that would accrue to the community should the Ghajnsielem Redcoats have a dedicated softball field.