By Nick Butler 

Nestor Jacono, pictured alongside Flagbearer Alfred Zammit Cutajar in the Opening Ceremony at Wembley Stadium, was the sole competitor to represent Malta at London 1948 ©FacebookMalta's oldest Olympian and only competitor at London 1948, sprinter Nestor Jacono, has died at the age of 89.

Born in 1925, Jacono began competing in athletics while a student at St Edwards College on the Mediterranean island and, despite the heavy bombardment Malta received during the Second World War, he continued training and was soon the national record holder.

In 1948 he was selected as the only Maltese Olympian at the Games at London, finishing in fifth position in heat one of the 100 metres behind eventual silver medal winner Barney Ewell of the United States. 

In this he followed in the footsteps of a Malta water polo team who reached the quarter-finals of the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic competition, where they lost to eventual bronze medal winners France in the quarter-final, as well as sprinters Alfred Bencini and Austin Cassar-Torreggiani, who each competed in heats at Berlin 1936.

After London 1948, Jacono continued to dominate the 100 yards event in the National Championships for several years before, after retiring, he set up the Pegasus Club to encourage and train school children.

He was later involved in the administration of sport in his home country and served as general secretary of the Maltese Olympic Committee (MOC), and in 2005 was appointed to the MOC Hall of Fame.

He has been credited with the growth of the MOC to the extent that, earlier this year Alpine skier Élise Pellegrin became Malta's first Winter Olympian in Sochi, where she enjoyed a best finish of 42nd in the slalom event. 

Jacono's funeral will take place tomorrow in Sliema.

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