The tiny Mediterranean island of Malta is in the fever heat of an election -- one of the most important in its history, as pro-Arab premier Dom Mintoff seeks to defend his tiny majority of three to put his Labour Party back into power for the second time in a decade.
GV: Valletta harbour, Malta.
GV: crowd on quayside.
LV: starting officials lower flag.
GV: start of second race with men rowing boats.
GV: race in progress (2 shots)
GV: winner of race raises hand as boat crosses line.
GV PAN FROM: police boat to crowd on quayside.
GV: starters of race.
GV: start of third race.
GVs: race in progress (2 shots)
SV: people swimming in water.
GV: winner of third race passing finishing line.
TV: Winners with cup and shield through streets with crowd.
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Background: The tiny Mediterranean island of Malta is in the fever heat of an election -- one of the most important in its history, as pro-Arab premier Dom Mintoff seeks to defend his tiny majority of three to put his Labour Party back into power for the second time in a decade. But on Wednesday (8 September) the forthcoming election was temporarily forgotten as a large part of the island's population gathered in Valletta, the capital, to cheer on the centuries-old annual rowing regatta.
SYNOPSIS: The question in the spectator's mind was -- could the team from the town of Marsa repeat its victory of last year, when it won the regatta for only the second time in 21 years? Rivalry is traditionally fierce between the towns of Malta, an island which has withstood the advances of the Moslem world for centuries and is one of the most strongly Roman Catholic countries in the world. Last year, Marsa came in strongly to win as complete outsiders. This year, they were favourites -- and decided to enter the same winning team, down to a man. The second race -- and a good victory to notch up valuable points for the overall score which decides the winner.
And the third race, after Marsa had taken the first and second. But tension heightened as it became clear from the start of the third race that the Marsa team waren't going to win this heat. In the excitement supporters, on these working boats which ferry passengers and goods around the island throughout the rest of the year, began jumping into the water in an effort to urge on their team.
But in the fifth race Marsa finally came up with another win -- to collect enough points in the five-race competition to secure the cup for another year.