by Alex Vella
A year which will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best ever for Neptunes WPSC, has also been rubberstamped by two of the club’s stalwarts who featured prominently as two of Malta’s outstanding athletes in 2011.
The feats of waterpolo star Steven Camilleri and the island’s top female swimmer Nikki Muscat during the year were acknowledged by the highest sports authorities when these two were shorlisted for the ‘Sportsman of the Year’ and ‘Under-17 Athlete of the Year’ awards respectively.
These two Neptunes athletes did the club proud in their disciplines when they not only achieved the highest local targets but they also represented our country with great honour.
During the year Steven helped our team to their 20th championship and cup success while sweeping all individual honours, namely top-scorer in local club competitions, top-scorer for his country, ‘Player of the Month’ for July and August and ‘Player of the Year’ for 2011.
These achievements were superbly backed by his astonishing scoring streak for his Italian Serie A1 team RN Bogliasco, which saw him end the year as his team’s number one goal-getter and fourth in the 140-strong Italian league scorer’s list.
It is a real pity that such remarkable feats pertain to a team sport and are not normally rewarded by medals in the international arena such as other medal-based disciplines. If that had been the case our golden boy, who was surprisingly left in the lurch in the 2010 ‘Sportivi’ contests, would have fared much better and perhaps emulate Freddie Grixti when he won the top sportsman award in the sixties.
Nicola Muscat, familiarly known as Nikki, was the other protagonist from Neptunes during the past year. The girl’s reputation as a foremost swimming talent blossomed during 2011, to the extent that she now holds 17 national records, five in the Group ‘C’ age category and seven in Group ‘D’, feats that attest to her verstility.
These limits have been further capped by another five national marks, besides being a team member of the record-holding quartets in the 4 x 50m, 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m freestyle relays. She has also helped Malta to a podium place in the 4 x 200m freestlye in the GSSE in July 2011 in Liecthenstein.
Nikki, has been an inspiration to other swimmers and rightly followed in the footsteps of the iconic Angela Galea whose swimming successes in past years won her the 2004 Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Like all Maltese sports followers, we at Neptunes are very proud of Steven and Nikki. May they keep it up.