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Tiny Mediterranean nation of Malta confirm historic first America's Cup challenge

The small Mediterranean nation of Malta are one of four confirmed challengers entering the 2021 America's Cup in Auckland.

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed this morning that their historic first challenge had been accepted for the 36th edition of the regatta where they will sail under the name Malta Altus.

"For the first time ever, a challenger from Malta has been accepted for 36th America’s Cup. The Malta Altus Challenge will come from the smallest country to ever compete for America's Cup."

Malta has a population of  around 475,000.

Team New Zealand confirmed last week eight challenges had been submitted prior to the latest deadline and while one was able to be accepted immediately, the rest would go through a thorough vetting process and not all were expected to be accepted.

With the news from the Mediterranean archipelago, the confirmed entries for the 2021 event in Auckland are Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, American Magic, INEOS Team UK and Malta Altus.

Reports out of Italy also suggest new challenges had been submitted from Imperia in Italy, the United States (2), Norway, Japan, China and Holland.

Team France confirmed yesterday they would not compete in 2021 due to a lack of funding.

The Great Sound, Bermuda, 26th June 2017. Emirates Team New Zealand Helmsman Peter Burling and skipper Glenn Ashby hold aloft the America's Cup. Photo: Chris Cameron / www.photosport.nz
Emirates Team New Zealand Helmsman Peter Burling and skipper Glenn Ashby hold aloft the America's Cup. Source: Photosport