“The prospect of our Island being represented along with the other nations in the international arena in competitions of such magnitude caught the imagination of all the water polo enthusiasts and soon the Amateur Swimming Association of Malta came into being holding its first meeting in 1925”
Lord Plumer who was Governor of the Maltese Islands form 1919-1924 and a great supporter and admirer of Maltese water polo teams who, at that time took on powerful services teams mostly from the fleet anchored in our harbours first thought of the idea of sending a water polo team to the Paris 1924 Games.
Unfortunately, however because his term of office was nearly over, there was no time to make the necessary arrangements for Malta’s participation.
After Lord Plumer’s departure, one of his staff mentioned the Governor’s idea of Malta being represented at the Olympic Games and soon one of Malta’s most prominent waterpolo players of the time, Carmel “Meme” Busietta, started the ball rolling for Malta’s participation in the Amsterdam Olympiad of 1928.
National Team 1928
The team of Malta that took part in Amsterdam 1928 Olympics.
Back row L-R: A.Rizzo, M.Boissevain (attache), Capt. H.Sammut, V.J.Pace, F.Cassar Torregiani, R.Fiorini. Middle row L-R: L.Darmatin, J.Nappa, F.V.Busietta. Front row L-R: E.Busietta (masseur), H.Bonavia, C.L.Busietta, E.Magri and R.Vella.
The prospect of our Island being represented along with the other nations in the international arena in competitions of such magnitude caught the imagination of all the water polo enthusiasts and soon the Amateur Swimming Association of Malta came into being holding its first meeting in 1925.
Immediately after being accepted as a member of the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA), Malta applied for participation in the Amsterdam Olympiad. But to everyone’s dismay this was refused by the Netherland’s Organising Committee on the grounds that Malta could not participate as a nation because it was a colony of Great Britain.
The Maltese, through the excellent relations with Mr. Hern, at the same time Secretary of the ASA of Great Britain and also of FINA, sought the help of the world’s swimming body who in turn asked a legal adviser to take up Malta’s case.
After a prolonged legal battle, Malta’s participation as a nation was accepted. However as all the dealings with the International authorities were being conducted by the ASA of Malta and as the official invitation was to be sent to “the official committee representing all sports of Malta” a Malta Olympic Committee had to be formed.
This was soon set up and Malta OC held its first meeting on the 5th of June 1928 at 153, Strada Zecca, Valletta. Things had to move very fast, but Malta did finally make it to Amsterdam Olympiad being represented by its waterpolo team. Malta could not have had a more auspicious baptism of fire for they beat Luxembourg in their first ever international match 3-1.
However they suffered heavy defeats in their two subsequent encounters going down to France (the eventual bronze medallists) 16-0 and the United States 8-0.
Malta took part for the second time in the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 again in water polo and athletics. Nobody who participated in those Games is ever likely to forget the spectacle witnessed.
National Team 1936
The National team of Malta that took part in Berlin 1936 Olympic Games.
Back row L-R: C.Parlato, J.Albanese, A.Lanzon, S.Scott, J.Chetcuti, A.Podesta, F.Wismayer. Seating L-R: W.Podesta, J.Demicoli. Absent: Pippo Schembri, Frendo Azzopardi.
The late Austin Cassar Torreggiani had the fortune (or was it misfortune) of being drawn against none other than the legendary Jesse Owens in his 100 m heat. Austin finished fourth and was eliminated as was our other sprinter, A. Bencini. The third athlete, P. Pace woke up with a temperature on the day of the competition and did not run at all.
As regards waterpolo, with Malta not having at that time a fresh water pool, the Maltese players were again faced with the problem of buoyancy. However in their first friendly matches before the Games, they produced very satisfactory results which in turn, proved to the detrimental as they gave the Maltese a false sense of self confidence.
In fact when the moment of truth arrived facing national sides, it was a different story altogether. They were easily beaten by Britain 6-2; by Hungary, the eventual champions 12-0 and by Yugoslavia 7-0.
Therefore, Water Polo was officially organised as a sport in 1925 when the then Amateur Swimming Association was set up.
The name of the association was changed by means of a resolution passed during the Annual General Meeting of 2000 – the official name was changed to Aquatic Sports Association of Malta.
The objectives of the Association have remained the same and are to promote and encourage the development of swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming in Malta and to adopt the necessary regulations and rules and to stimulate public opinion in favour of providing proper accommodation and facilities. The Aquatic Sports Association organizes swimming and water polo competitions at national and international levels.
The Association’s three principal officials of the Association are the President, the General Secretary and the Treasurer. In recent years it was decided to introduce the posts of three Vice-Presidents, namely, Vice-President Water Polo, Vice-President Swimming and Vice-President Administration and Education to facilitate the administration and organization of competitions.
The Executive organs of the Association are the General Meeting, The Council and the Executive Committee. The Association is composed of clubs or other bodies whose objectives are similar to its own.
The Head Quarters of the Association are situated at the National Swimming Pool Complex, Gzira, Malta.
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Aquatic Sports Association, Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex, Maria Teresa Spinelli Street, Gzira, GZR 1711, Malta
+356 2132 2884
+356 2132 2880