[WATCH] Vibrant rivalry colours annual Regatta’s display of athleticism

Marsa wins the Regatta for the second year in a row

Marsa won in the two regatta competitions (Photos by Ray Attard)
Marsa won in the two regatta competitions (Photos by Ray Attard)
Photo: Ray Attard
Photo: Ray Attard
Photo: Ray Attard
Photo: Ray Attard
Photo: Ray Attard
Photo: Ray Attard
A day at the races... Video: Ray Attard

Calm seas and blue skies provided the perfect backdrop for this year’s Regatta. People swarmed to the various locations in spite of the sweltering heat and cheered their teams on whenever they rowed past. The yearly event is characterized by celebrations, not to mention rivalry between team members and supporters from different localities.

The festive atmosphere attracts great numbers of locals and tourists alike, who enjoy experiencing the culture and traditions of the Maltese islands. MaltaToday spoke to locals and tourists alike ahead of the big competition.

One of the tourists who spoke to MaltaToday, said that he habitually visited the area both for the Regatta and for the festivities that accompany the local Marija Bambina feast, on September 8th. While another foreigner, who now lives in Malta said that the first time he had visited the island, he had not been aware of the importance of the event.

“This time around, having seen the teams practice a lot, I am very looking forward to the competition itself, and I’m siding with Senglea,” he laughed.

The cashier of the Senglea club, Clive Puli said that he had been an avid follower of the event ever since he was a child, and that the race had become part of his life.  

“We also have a lot of young people rowing for us this year,” Puli said.

Senglea resident Josephine Lia said that although she hadn’t been born and raised in Senglea, she had grown accustomed and increasingly fond of the event.

“I make it a point to come and watch every year, and I always side with Senglea,” she added.

Many of the supporters present said that they had followed the Regatta ever since they were children, and they also expressed hope in the younger members of the rowing team.

Darryl Ebejer told us that the Regatta was part of a yearly tradition and that it represented unity and an opportunity to meet with family and old friends, particularly for people who had moved from the locality, like himself.

A group of young boys from Senglea also enthusiastically told us that they had followed the race for as long as they could remember. They added that the day had always been a special occasion for them to enjoy time in each other’s company and perhaps even for a swim while supporting their locality.

 Marsa crowned Victors of this year's Regatta

After a day of races, with different localities taking the lead at different points throughout the competition, Marsa were finally crowned the Champions, and awarded two shields winning two races in the B category and another three in the open. The usual rivalry was largely absent throughout the long day of races, and in a true show of sportsmanship, the teams peacefully congratulated each other for their performances after the victors were announced.

The pier in Valletta hosted scenes of merriment as a brass band started to play to the celebrations of all those present, and as the last boat rowed into the pier, with those on-board receiving a hero’s welcome.

Some of the members of the team spoke to Malta Today immediately following the award ceremony and expressed their delight at winning the prize.

“All the hard work and effort has paid off,” they said, thanking all those who had shown them support throughout their training.  Asked what the Regatta meant to them, they said that they prepared for the event all year long and that their love for the event had been a result of family tradition.

“Today’s victory marks the twelfth time that Marsa won the competition,” they added, rowing off for more celebrations. 

Vittoriosa placed second and Senglea third in the B category while Senglea placed second and Cospicua third in the open.