Table Tennis In Malta
In the Beginning
Table Tennis, as with the majority of sports disciplines, was already being played in Malta, within the services quarters in the late twenties, but it was the Royal University Sports Club that introduced the game to local enthusiast, which soon became a popular indoor sports. By the mid-thirties, several clubs were already organising their own open competitions and St. Gaetan Band Club in Hamrun, which for a number of years became the cradle of table tennis in Malta, bought its first table in 1936. Various Catholic Action Centres also gave their contribution to spread this sport. During this period several Tournaments were organised between local clubs and services teams, especially the RAF. Various Maltese payers like J. Gambin, F. Borg were making a name for themselves but John Bonavia remained the undisputed unofficial champion, till the outbreak of the Second World War.
Very little is recorded of the game in the middle forties, when interest in the game was being rekindled.
In 1948, a group of keen sportsmen and lovers of the game, headed by Salvu Felice Gay, Sydney Mayo and Arthur Lentini, founded the Malta Amateur Table Tennis Association. This experience was short-lived as the MATTA became dormant after organising only one ‘Singles’ competition.
The Birth of the MTTA
In 1953, on the initiative of the St. Gaetan B.C. and the unstinting efforts of its sports director, Joseph Debattista (considered as the founder of the MTTA), convened an extraordinary general meeting where all table tennis enthusiasts were called upon to extend their support to form an Association and in January 1953 the MTTA was officially founded, with its first President Mr. Joseph Cassar Naudi (the renowed Football Referee). The popularity of Table tennis soon spread throughout the island with members always on the increase year after year. The Ministry of Sports & Malta Olympic Committe were also instrumental, in this upserge, by including the MTTA in its schemes and projects to upgrade local sports.
Affiliation to the ETTU & ITTF International Participation
In season 1956/57, Malta gained affiliation to the International Table Tennis Federation and to the European Table Tennis Union a year later. Malta took part in the ITTF World Championships, for the first time, when they were held in Dortmund, Germany in 1959. In the years that followed, Malta participated in other World Championships, 1963 Prague-Czech,1965 Llublijana-Yugoslavia, 1977 Birmingham-England. From 1977 onwards Malta participated almost in all World Championships and European Championships besides taking part in other important events such as European League and Commonwealth Championships. Also from 1995 Table Tennis was always included in the Games of the Small States of Europe and our players always honoured our country and up to date they won no less than 5 Gold, 9 Silver and 9 Bronze.
The association is now also hosting prestigious events for youths such as the ISF World Schools Table Tennis Championships held in March 2008 and next year in 2009 will be staging the Eurokids Training Camp with the participation of 16 European countries and the 1st International Table Tennis Federation Junior Pro Tour with youths under15 & 18 years of age coming over to Malta from all over the world.
Current Executive Committee 2014-2016
- Mr. Mark Grech – President
- Dr. Umberto Borg Cardona – Secretary General
- Mr. Dennis Borg – Assistant Secretary
- Mr. Noel Schembri – Treasurer
- Mr. Alex Ansastasi – Committe Member
- Mr. Andrea Portelli – Tournament Manager
- Mr. Victor Grech – Co-opted Member
Mr. Mark Grech (Pictured)
Past MTTA Presidents
- Mr. Joseph M. Cassar Naudi
- Mr. Joseph Debattista
- Mr. S. J. Mayo
- Ms. Marie Theres Chalmers
- Mr. Arthur Rossi
- Mr. Joseph Borg Cardona
- Mr. Paul Dawson
- Mr Alex Anastasi
Mr. Alex Anastasi
Mr. Paul Dawson
Mr. Joe Borg Cardona