The President of Malta

Diskors mill-E.T.George Vella waqt preżentazzjoni tal-‘Queen’s Baton’ b’antiċipazzjoni għal-logħob tal-Commonwealth li ser isiru f’Birmingham fl-2022 (28 ta’ Lulju, 2022 – 8 ta’ Awwissu,2022) (Diskors bl-Ingliż)

12 October 2021

Sant’Anton Palace

Mr Joseph Cassar – Chairman of the Malta Olympic Committee

Distinguished Guests,

It is a pleasure and an honour to receive you and the Queen’s Baton[1] here at Sant’ Anton Palace.  I need not repeat the significance behind the Queen’s Baton Relay.  However, I have to congratulate the Malta Olympic Committee for making arrangements to receive the Baton after its Cyprus stop and taking the Baton to practically every corner of the country.  I also commend the various local councils for participating in the Relay and taking the Baton straight into the midst of our communities. 

This is exactly the spirit embraced by the Commonwealth Games.  They are not just a competition to determine who is the best of every category.  It is the sense of community and friendship that make the Games unique in their objective.

The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games are centred around the concept of sustainability; both in the running and organisation of the games themselves as well as at the basis of a general rule for all stakeholders to observe and abide with.

To this effect, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the best yardstick we have, with which we measure how much we have achieved and take stock of where we are now in terms of sustainability, and whether we will arrive where we want to be by 2030.

As you all know, the SDGs, as they are known, are divided into seventeen themes. Each theme deals with the most basic aspects of our lives.

The targets we set ourselves to reach are not easy to achieve.  The time left between now and 2030, have leaves us with no other option but to strive relentlessly, against all odds, to achieve our targets.

Failure is not an option.

One would think that in our times, with so much technological advances and information at hand, humanity would have learnt how to be respectful to its own kind, and even more so to the natural environment.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Here I think I should express some personal thanks.

Our very own Neil Agius, Fabio Spiteri and Jake Vella, have, in their respective ways, brought to light many issues that are covered by the SDGs. 

I want to personally thank you for the efforts you make to raise awareness about the protection of the environment, and the plight of the most vulnerable.  You are an example of how sports and active citizenship can bring about positive change.

This is the essence of the Commonwealth Games.  The celebration of diversity and inclusivity.

I have to say that I am particularly proud of our athletes[1], some of whom are here today, and who will be competing for Malta next July and August in Birmingham.

You represent different sporting disciplines, however the perseverance and determination that drives you to achieve better performances and results, are amongst key elements that I am sure you all have in common. 

Best of luck to you all.

I also want to thank the authorities for investing in youth and sport.  Maybe we are still, as a nation, not doing enough.  There is always much more that needs to be done in this field, thus I encourage you to continue pursuing these two sectors. 

Keeping our young engaged and healthy, as well as helping them reaching international standards in their respective sport, is an investment that will keep bearing fruits for years to come.

Dear Officials of the Malta Olympic Committee, thank you once again for organising this event and supporting our young athletes.

[1] The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay was launched on 7 October 2021 and its first stop was Cyprus.  Malta is the second country it has visited.  In total the Baton will visit 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, yet, it will travel almost half he distance than the previous Gold Coast Queen’s Baton Relay in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint.

[2] Malta will be participating in the following sporting categories: Swimming, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Squash, Para Athletics, and Para Swimming.

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