Over 110 swimmers are expected to take part on Saturday, when the annual Malta-Gozo-Malta and Gozo-Malta swim takes place.
Organised by Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, under the auspices of the Aquatic Sports Association, the competition will be welcoming ninety-seven swimmers for the 5.5km Gozo-Malta route and fourteen swimmers for the 11km Malta-Gozo-Malta route. Both categories have seen a substantial increase in numbers.
With last year’s winner Luke Camilleri Cuschieri out of competition due to injury and runner up Andrew Sultana undertaking the Malta-Gozo-Malta route, 2016 Open Water Swimming Series Champion Dylan Cachia is billed as the top favourite to clinch the honours. A challenge is expected however from the likes of Bernard Sant, Jean Claude Randon and Ramon Calleja, just to mention a few.
Sarah Demicoli, who has showed no signs of stopping her successful run, will not be taking part in this race but has moved to the longer 11km route. Barring any major surprises, main title contender for this race is Maya Schembri Rogers, who performed consistently well in the races she undertook throughout the summer.
Fourteen swimmers, up by four from last year will undertake the gruelling 11km route.
In order to qualify for this race, athletes are required to have undertaken three of the two kilometre races of the Birkirkara St. Joseph Open Water Swimming Series 2016 as well as having taken part in the four-kilometre event registered a time equal to or less than 1 hour 20 minutes.
Similar to the Gozo-Malta race, last year’s winner Neil Agius is out of the fray leaving the way open for athletes Andrew Sultana, Richard Zerafa for possible claim of the title. One must not ignore seasoned swimmers like Keith Bartolo, Roberto Demicoli and Robert Vella who are not new to such distances and who’s experience will defintly come in handy.
A podium placing is nearly guaranteed for the three female competitors in this race. Sarah Demicoli, Sandra Schembri and Isabelle Zarb will make for an interesting race.
The 11-kilometre Malta-Gozo-Malta swim will start at Marfa at 6:30 a.m., whilst the Gozo-Malta Swim will start from Ras il-Qala at 8:15 a.m. The first swimmers will be expected to reach Malta at about 9:30 a.m. finishing at the Ramla Bay Resort Beach which will be all set up for this occasion.
The race route will be closed for maritime traffic throughout the event as per Local Notice to Mariners No. 58 issued by Transport Malta, through the Ports and Yachting Directorate. An AFM Patrol Boat and police sea crafts will be in attendance to ensure the safety of the swimmers, who will all be accompanied by an escort boat. Land and sea ambulances will also be present.
A presentation ceremony will take place immediately after the Race and will be presided by the President of the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta, Mr. Joe Caruana Curran and Secretary Ms. Rita Azzopardi.
For further information about these races please visit www.bkarastjoseph.com
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