GSSE Malta 2023: Let the games begin

Europe’s small states battle it out for sports glory as Malta hosts the 19th edition of the GSSE • Nine countries, 10 disciplines, more than 1,300 athletes and officials

Team Malta was recently hosted at Auberge de Castille by Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: Gareth Degiorgio)
Team Malta was recently hosted at Auberge de Castille by Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: Gareth Degiorgio)

Malta is hosting the Games for the Small States of Europe with squash and tennis players kickstarting the week-long games on Monday morning.

More than 1,300 athletes and officials have registered to be part of the 19th edition of the GSSE, which sees athletes from Europe’s nine small states competing in 10 disciplines.

The first competitions started on Monday morning with the squash and tennis singles preliminary competitions taking place at the Marsa Sports Club. In the afternoon, the 5X5 basketball competition gets underway at the Ta’ Qali pavillion with Cyprus and Luxembourg squaring off against each other.

Malta Olympic Committee President Julian Pace Bonello said this week will be a culmination of years of technical preparation, expressing confidence that Maltese athletes will prdouce good results.

“We are confident that our athletes have been well prepared and will produce good results for Malta. We hope that these Games will be the foundation of a long lasting legacy that will see sport in Malta grow both in terms of results as well as increased participation,” he said.

Opening ceremony

The official opening ceremony will be held on Monday afternoon at the Floriana Granaries with the participation of around 4,000 people.

The event will be livestreamed by TVM, One TV and Net TV, and the national TV stations of the participating countries.  

The organisers said the opening ceremony will celebrate the spirit of unity and showcase Malta’s culture and heritage through artistic performances, music, and dance.

The Parade of Nations will start with Andorra and proceed alphabetically, with Malta – as host country – parading last. The participating countries are: Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Malta, Monaco and Montenegro.

The Malta team will be led by flag bearers Elaine Genovese and Matthew Galea Soler.

Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja will sing the national anthem, followed by the Olympic Oath.

10 disciplines

By the end of the week, Malta will host a total of 114 events across 10 disciplines – athletics, basketball, judo, rugby 7s, sailing, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis and tennis. The events will be spread across 11 venues which have been refurbished or rebuilt purposely for these games.

All schedules and results can be viewed on the GSSE 2023 website.