It boggles the mind of many that an island nation like Malta, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, sees its own population not eating enough fish in its diet and not excelling as much as it should in sea sports like sailing, swimming, spearfishing, windsurfing, kayaking and so on. However, there’s one sport that sees the Maltese National Waterpolo Team, led by Maltese coach Karl Izzo, ranked amongst the top 20 in the world.
The Fédération Internationale De Natation’s (FINA) rankings, released shortly after the Tokyo Olympics, placed the Maltese athletes in 19th place, alongside Canada, Turkey, and Slovakia. Greece presently leads the list, followed by Montenegro, Serbia, and Hungary in second, third, and fourth positions, respectively.
FINA is the international federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions in water sports. It is one of several international federations which administer a given sport or discipline for the IOC and international community. It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
This is despite the fact that local sports have been severely impacted in terms of training and travel restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Maltese waterpolo squad continued to show so much potential that the international governing body of waterpolo simply had to but notice their talent and drive. Coach Karl Izzo said that the players were able to negotiate the pandemic’s limitations while continuing to prepare for their favourite sport. In other developments, Malta’s under-17 waterpolo team defeated Ukraine to finish 13th in the European Championships.