Is the ASA sending its fastest swimmer to the Youth Olympics?

Friday, July 23, 2010, 5:11

by Sandro Micallef

Between the 14-26 August 2010, around 3,600 athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 will be participating in the Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

The Malta Olympic Committee will be sending a contingent of local athletes to these games which includes an athlete who will be participating in the swimming competitions.

A few months back, National team swimming coach Andy Colburn nominated 4 junior swimmers (2 male and 2 female) from the National swimming team to be considered by the MOC for inclusion in the Maltese contingent in Singapore.

The controversy erupted when one of the male swimmers, whose parent is involved with the ASA (Aquatic Sports Association of Malta), was selected without any justification being given to the other 3 athletes that were excluded.

It later transpired that the only swimmer who qualified with the fastest time for the Youth Olympics was Talisa Pace, while the male swimmer who was selected did not have a qualifying time. Pace managed a time of 27.57 seconds in the 50m freestyle during the national championships in June 2009, and bettered her previous time by 0.80 splits a few days ago.

Pace’s time last year was below the 27.64 seconds barrier that is specified in the Qualification Systems document set by FINA. Therefore she was meant to be called up to form part of the Olympic team if the decision was taken to sent only one athlete.





24 Comments

  1. M Attard says:

    Check this out news on Moc site … headline says ….. (Moc athletes towards SINGAPORE YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES) …….. !!!!!!! Why does it say athletes when only one profile is shown ? who are the other athletes not even a name is mentioned !!!! Well let me have a guess is it Athletics? is it Judo ? Can someone help me out here

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  2. M Attard says:

    Can Someone please help the Moc to update thier site it is so blank , how many athletes are going to the games ? The games are 19 days away . http://www.nocmalta.org LOL

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  3. M. camilleri says:

    So we have the national team coach who is saying that his decision was not in fact the one that was announced by the MOC.

    we have the MOC and the ASA remaining silent on this matter.

    Then isn’t it obvious that the ASA and the MOC are involved in this scandalous decision? Why wasn’t the national team coach’s choice honoured??

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  4. city king says:

    xammru l-kmien u ahdmu ghal gid tal-iswimming mhux tiggieldu. tafu li dawn l-affarijiet jigru wkoll fil-football …… dawn il-preferenzi ma jaqtghu qatt f’dan il-pajjiz

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  5. Franklin Borg says:

    No one is God’s Gift to swimming. We are all God’s gift and to Him we have to be accountable for all our deeds. My eyes hurt too when another maltese citizen calls others ignorant and childish. Finally, someone had the courage to express publicly his/her disappointments and if everything has been done fairly no one needs to get angry and insult others. Even my heart hurts when I see promising swimmers being demoralised by lack of information and transparency. This is what KILLS the SPORT.The whole issue was whether the most deserving swimmer is going to represent our nation. Let’s stay focused and discuss this in a civilised manner Mr.Zammit. How can anyone attack parents when these are sacrificing their own lives for the sake of swimming? Hope you all know that there will be 2 female runners representing us during the Youth Olympics and only one swimmer when we all know that swimmers did much better than athletes during FISEC Games. Why did no one try to involve more swimmers in the Youth Olympics?

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  6. Franklin Zammit says:

    It’s amazingly ridiculous to see what ignorance we find in this country. My eyes hurt to even read the comments left above, by obviously swimmers who train together and also a parent who is supposed to support the swimmers who is busier gossiping behind people’s backs and also playing the part of a “journalist”. My only question is ….Fejn sejrin? and my answer as a person having been in sport for years is nowhere. I would really love to see the national coaches reaction to all the above I am sure he is not happy at all with both swimmers and parents who think they are God’s Gift to swimming. Also one last point for Doris. Support the sport and stop killing the sport. Support your child and encourage the rest. STOP THIS RIDICULOUS ….CHILDISH behavior. For Talisa all I would like to say is congratulations on your enthusiasm for your 27 second swim in 50m Free, Keep it up and remember 23.73 Britta Steffen. That’s when we will be able to say “amazing time” There are other swimmers in Malta who have reached times which are very competitive and good such as your 27.

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    Andy Colbourn Reply:

    I am glad to see that swimming is generating so much interest in the media….just a shame, as usual, it should be for the wrong reasons. This is not a matter that should be discussed in the media and it is a shame that everyone seems to feel that the media is the place to air their dirty laundry instead of first requesting a meeting with the relevant ASA officials. It is clear from the comments made here that none of you are aware of what went on when the choice was made on which swimmer would be sent to YOG. All I will say is the decision was not made by the ASA and the ASA have still not received a suitable answer from the MOC as to what selection criteria they used to select one of the 4 swimmers that were shorlisted to them following my recommendations, to participate in the YOG Games. I would also like you all to know that as a national coach it is supposed to be my choice and my choice alone as to which swimmer will represent Malta in any swimming competition, however in this case after my initial recommendations the MOC did not discuss the matter with myself or any ASA official and it is due once again to the MOC over-stepping thier boundaries that we have this argument. Finally, I would ask that this stops here and all relevant parties request the information from the ASA.

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    colin pace Reply:

    I am happy to hear of some information and i wish to thank you for all you do with my daughter and all the national team plus all the swimmers . We all know how dedicated and how much attention you give to the swimmers . This would be my last comment on this story as i have made all my points , true it is a shame the story had to come out from the media this story should have been on the table since March 2009 when the qualification time period started . I will take your advice and be the first to stop ! Thanking you Coach Andy Colbourn you have gave a big boost to swimming in malta .

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    colin pace Reply:

    Dear Mr Zammit you say its ridiculous and ignorant of me playing journalist ! and im sure im not gossiping behind people,s back as i would not be posting my comments on here ! If you buy the local papers you would know who is playing JOURNALIST . you also mentioned that Doris is killing the sport because she mentioned Nikki Muscat ? while saying she had made a national record in the 50 butterfly at the age of 15 ! but nothing seem to impress you . I do not think my daughter is a god gift to swimming but she is a god gift to Me so i have the right to defend her . It makes me laugh when you mention Britta Steffen (world record holder) from germany born 1983 .We are talking about Maltese youths here! MQS are there for a reason , Talisa pace qualified and no one here has proven me wrong . She was deprived of the opportunity to represent her country . If you have been in sports for years maybe you might help all sport athletes for a better future between them and the associations that represent them .

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    M Attard Reply:

    It is a shame to hear this from a SPORTSMAN for years , you are accusing others to be ridiculous and ignorant while you have ended your comment in the same manner LOL

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    grech Reply:

    MrZammit, if you go on the internet and check the qualifying times you will see that there is no 23.73 for our children to be chosen or the youth olympics. Not even for the Olympics, because then only Britta stessen would qualify. And you are wrong about other swimmers in Malta who have reached times as good as 27, (referring to the girls).The only girl who has 27 seconds is the Maltese Australian who does not train in Malta.

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  7. Doris says:

    Mr Borg are you sure they’ll be sending the youth that deserves it the most? Nikki Muscat is the only youth who has a National Record to date. It is the 50m Butterfly which previously belonged to our only Small Nations Swimming Gold Medalist Angie Galea and Nikki did it when she was not yet 16. None of the above hold a similar title and she is more than a year younger than all the other youths.

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  8. mallia says:

    When Talisa did the qualifying time on june 2009 national championship tal qroqq she should have been informed ! why did she not know nothing until a few weeks ago . THIS is lack of information !

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  9. Ex-Judo athlete says:

    As an ex-judo athlete I can safely say that selections for Olympic Games, Gsse, Commonwealth Games etc are usually carried out by the Associations under the guidance of the MQS set by the MOC.

    So usually there is a time one needs to beat, a result one needs to achieve, a number of plattini one needs to hit, a number of games one needs to win etc …it depends on the sport… so in this case it’s simple: there was a time and the athlete(s) who beat that time get the plane ticket to Singapore! SIMPLE !!

    The MOC always strives to have it’s strongest athletes in international competitions…gone are the days of the 1990s where athletes used to compete in GSSE etc because they deserve it. It’s results that count …so in this case something must be wrong unless the authorities come clean and tell us all sporting public what the criteria were

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  10. maria desira says:

    The good question to be asked is what would have happened if all the eligible swimmers were given equal opportunities, help and support from federations. Surely all the entitled swimmers would have kept the consistency, or better, as Mark Sammut. In fact, considering the resources provided for these kids, especially this year, they were quite constant. It would be absurd to think that preferences were made in all decisions made this year, particularly when considering the fact that family members were involved, wouldn’t it?

    I still do not understand why Mark Sammut is the youth who deserves it the most.

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  11. Joseph Borg says:

    Mark’s father is involved in the ASA, but there is also another youth swimmer who’s father has a much higher rank, and at the end of the day is the one that allows important decisions to be made. Therefore that remark is completely out of place and ignorant! The article looks at putting Mark in a bad light when he has had nothing to do with the decision. I do not agree with everything being kept such a big secret, but isn’t it always that way when it comes to selection for GSSE and Olympics? The MOC set the qualification guidelines as they wish, it is them that are to blame. But the decision made to select Mark must have been beacause he is the more promising of the two. Talisa is a brilliant swimmer but she is no longer developing. Mark improves almost in every competition he is swimming in and this is a sign that he can become one of Malta’s top swimmers in the not too distant future.

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    c.pace Reply:

    You are very angry ‘Mr Borg’ !!! When you say Talisa is no longer developing you must missed last week national championships! that is where a swimmer should peak and perform ,how can you talk in this manner when talking about a 17 year old swimmer ? i do not wish to get into what results Mark Sammut got last week ! you are missing the point why did the 2 boys have all the information and was not the same for the 2 girls ? The other swimmer with his father in a higher rank was told of the reason but unfortunetly the 2 girls got no answers. But at least we are agreeing that the Moc selections are not always the right ones , swimmers should have the qualification guidelines in thier hand or at least on a notice board at the Pixxina !

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    talisa Reply:

    Mr borg , if u are really into swimming u would know that every athlete before GSSE is given a paper with qualifying times a lot BEFORE the meet is held so that we can push even more in training to reach that qualifying time. I didnt even know any swimmer is going to the youth olympics let alone know the qualifying times and also that I HAD qualified. And for that statement that i am not longer developing – u should be ashamed to talk about me like that. Every swimmer especially girls goes through rough patches in swimming. It is hard to improve all the time especially when i started performing very well when i was very young. If u had been at the last nationals u would have not been writing any of these comments in the first place so before u say that i am not performing, go check all the results and they will speak for themselves. In these last nationals i got an amazing time of 27.47. do u even know how good that is? not even one swimmer in malta can reach the 27. mark let alone a 27 low.

    you are also wrong to say that mark always performs. I have nothing against mark but he can tell u himself that even he had his bad meets.So Mr. borg before u comment again u should know all the details especialy about me!

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  12. richard pace says:

    Shame on asa irid jispicca z zmiern u li kollox jaghaddi qiesu xejn mhu xejn tajjeb u ahna li nhobbu l iswimming inkunu nafu b dawn I’ll pastazati minn fuq I’ll media shame again on asa

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  13. Maria Borg says:

    Mr Borg, you speak from the heart, but I disagree with how the issue was dealt with. If the ASA had valid reasons for its selection, then why weren’t ALL of the eligible swimmers informed of them? Shouldn’t the ASA be trying to promote the sport? Another thing, if what was said about Pace’s consistency throughout the year were true, I think that knowledge of her eligibility and chances would have given her an aim, a goal, that would have enabled her to train with a little more heart and consistency. Opportunities such as these should not be ‘kept secret’ but should be given to the swimmers as a motivational booster. I would like to highlight to the ASA that things like THIS kill the sport.

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  14. mallia says:

    Every swimmer goes through bad season but we can not forget that Talisa Pace left her mark in the age group records and in the last nationals she has bettered her personal best in the 50 freestyle and personal best in the 100 freestyle .

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  15. c.pace says:

    All Swimmers should have all the information and qualification times ! After the hard work and dedication they do deserve to know all the details for any events

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  16. Joseph Borg says:

    The ASA might not be sending its fastest swimmer but it is definitely sending the youth that deserves it the most. Mark Sammut has been giving his best throughout the season and has shown a constant progress in most events. On the contrary, Talisa Pace has failed to do so, registering very few personal bests.

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    c.pace Reply:

    Dear Mr borg if you visit the FINA qualification system site the numbers speak for them selves! i thought you will comment on how fair it would be if all the swimmers would have the right to know all the information . we do not have nothing against Mark Sammut but why leave other swimmers that have the right to be in the games .

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