A Tribute to a True Gentleman

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Now that the veil of grief and disbelief is slowing lifting itself, I have decided to sit down and put down a few words in remembrance of a great man who in so many ways have made us better people and better athletes. The news on Wednesday came like a thunderclap from a clear sky and left us in shock, awe and mourning the loss of a man who quickly rose to high status in our lifes.

I met Bjarte just a little more than a year ago and he quickly offered his assistance with the Men’s Handball team. It was clear from the beginning that he shared with us the passion for handball, the game which he practiced and was involved in for so many years. ┬áHis impact on our team was immediate with the men’s team however his greatest work with our club came few months later when together with his wife Annalena, he took over a distraught women’s team. His presence, knowledge of the game and perseverance were critical factors in his first few months of tenure, and the team regained confidence and grew to 27 active members.

One thing that I will definetely remember about Bjarte is his ability to balance discipline and amiability and I was often on the receiving end of both. He was liked by all, and the Maltese handball community had accepted him and his wife with arms wide open. His project with Swieqi Phoenix Handball Women’s Teams was impeccable, planned to the latest detail. In one of our latest encounters he had talked about planning another training camp for next Summer, but unfortunately we will not be able to do this together again.

Bjarte was a fighter, and the last few hours of his life are a testimony to this. I am sure that it would be in his wish that what he has been working so hard on, these past months would be put into practice and I feel obliged to carry on his plan in the most meticulous way. We owe it to this great man to move forward, thank him for all he has taught us and keep him in our thoughts and close to our hearts.

Thank you Bjarte, you will be dearly missed but never forgotten. Skol!

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