One of Malta’s groundbreaking athletes Gerald Degaetano has died after reportedly suffering from a cardiac arrest this morning during a lecture. The healthy-living purveyor and athlete who had dominated Maltese distance running as well as making a mark in kayaking in the 80s and 90s leaves a legacy for all future Maltese athletes to follow.
He was the first Maltese athlete to win an international medal for the country after winning the bronze medal in the 1989 Small Nations Games held in Cyprus. He had come third in the 10,000m.
Local sports organisations, as well as other athletes and even politicians, have expressed their condolences for the passing of one of Malta’s earliest serious athletic competitors.
Gerald Degaetano started his career at the age of 19, while at University. By May 1987, just four years later, he had already been chosen to represent Malta at the Small States of Europe in Monaco after breaking Malta’s national record for the 10,000m a month earlier.
He then broke his own record by nearly a minute at the Games.
He continued to break national records in the 3,000m, 5,000m, and 10,000m – mostly done at the dirt track in Marsa.
In 1989, he won the bronze at Cyprus, and continued to break national records, often times bettering his track times with his road-racing times.
He still holds the current record for the Malta Half Marathon – 1:07:19.
He continued to represent Malta in international events, such as in the 2003 ICF World Flatwater Sprint Championships in Gainsville, Georgia, and even won events as recent as the Virtu Ferries Manoel Island 10k in 2011.