The International Championship for female drivers will be held next Sunday at the Marsa Race Track. Full details about this event were given during a press conference held early this morning at the Cottonera Sport Complex.
The press conference was addressed by the Hon. Chris Agius Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport as well as the Chairman of the Malta Racing Club Mr Edwin Borg. Mr Mark Cutajar, Director General Sport and Chief Executive of Sport Malta, who together with the European Commission are the main sponsors, also addressed the press conference regarding this unique historic event for harness racing.
“Sharing thoughts and ideas with other countries is another interesting way of learning. This was evident during the six exciting months during which we were hosting the European Union Council Presidency and now that it is nearing its conclusion it is befitting that we close with this largest competition for harness racing involving female drivers.” This was stated by the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport Chris Agius during this morning’s press conference.
He also mentioned the 18 million euro investment at the Marsa Race Track, which investment will not only enable the organisation of more high level local and international partecipation but also the track will become a healthy place for families to relax and interact.
Mark Cutajar, Director General Sport, said that this event will bring to a conclusion the sport related events linked to Malta’s EU Council Presidency. Horse racing was chosen by Malta as it is one of the most popular sport and as the principal theme during this Presidency was social inclusion and horse racing is still considered a male dominated sport then a competition with female drivers was definitely showcasing this theme. During this occasion Mr Cutajar also mentioned that with great pleasure and satisfaction for our country the documents related with the Presidency had been unanimously accepted by all members of the EU. He was referring to the Sports Plan leading up to 2020 as well as the conclusion of “Sport as a means of social inclusion” where the only thing left is that these be approved by the Ministers’ Council in Brussels on 23rd May.
With 19 participating countries, this Championship is the largest one ever organised for female harness racing drivers and it is being organised to also celebrate Malta’s EU Presidency.
Preparations for this event began at the end of last year and have intensified in this last month with invitations being sent out to the 21 member states of the European Trotting Union from which the only two declined were by Spain and Serbia.
The 19 countries taking part are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and of course Malta. The drivers are amongst the best that each country has to offer and they will take part in four races with each driver taking part in two races. Points will be awarded according to finishing order and the driver with the most points will be declared the championship winner.
The first participants started to arrive this morning and for 15 of them this will be their first visit to Malta. During their short stay they will be able to taste some of our hospitality as well as visit places of interest. They will also be accompanied by family and friends.
The Malta Racing Club Chairman took the opportunity to thank Mr Mark Cutajar and SportMalta for their financial support but most of all for the organisation of the event which was nearly all done by his staff. He also thanked the owners of the 38 horses enlisted for the races as this was the main and most important factor for this championship to be realised.
This event next Sunday starts at 13:30 and will offer a spectacle for all the family. The general public is invited to attend so as to cheer on all the participants.