The athletic season continued to gain pace with a number of commendable performances in the third pre-season meeting at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium in Marsa. This was the last event organised by Athletics Malta in the run-up to the Winter Championships due on Saturday 20th February.
Lisa Bezzina clinched a qualifying spot to the Athletics Championships of the Small States of Europe (CSSE) with a formidable 9.56.82 timing in the Women’s 3000 metres, in the third and final pre-season meeting at the Marsa Stadium. With a strong start-to-finish run, Pembroke’s Bezzina, who had the better of Mona Lisa Camilleri (As Libertas) in a tight race, also set a new age category (Women Over 40) record in the process. She will now be representing Malta in Serravalle, San Marino.
On the same distance, the male race was no less of an interesting affair with another exciting duel between Charlton Debono and Luke Micallef, with the former clocking 8.37.67, seven seconds off a qualifying time for the aforementioned CSSE. Dillon Cassar, preferred to run the longer 5000 metres distance and had no difficulties securing victory in 15.15.
Omar El Aida Chaffey (Starmax AC) was back stronger after a long injury spell clocking 6.94s on the 60m dash, whilst Carla Scicluna (Pembroke Athlete) registered a 7.74s, with a headwind of -0.5 and -1.0 respectively. With both athletes able to fare better in more favourable wind conditions, the pair are on the right track to secure a spot at the European Indoor Championships.
In an exciting and impressive display of strength the throws saw Luke Farrugia (Rush AC) came half a metre short of bettering his own discus national record. In the hammer throw Antonella Chouhal (Rush AC) threw her hammer 44.25m, missing out on a longer throw when she touched the circle.
The younger athletes also registered a number of remarkable performances. La Salle’s Nicolai Bonello continued to raise the bar in the pole vault to 3.70, setting an U18 record in the process. Kyla Farrugia U18 (St. Patricks) ran an unofficial 7.39.00 in the 2000m steeplechase. Julian Zarb (La Salle AC, main picture) set a new U16 National Record, this time in the 3000m, bettering the previous record by 2 seconds, clocking 9.46.79.
Commenting at the end of the third and final pre-season event, Athletics Malta President Andy Grech noted the significant participation of officials and volunteers at the event: “Athletics Malta’s intention is not only to increase the numbers of helpers but to retain them by supporting them through appropriate training. Shortly will launch a specific sub-committee focusing on the educational aspect of our sport, in particular to guide officials and coaching willing to better their knowledge in the athletic sector”.
Delegation to Sofia for Under 20 Balkan Games
Athletics Malta announces that a Maltese contingent of the very best Under 20 athletes, namely Kurt Zahra, David Borg, Martha Spiteri, Sarah Chouhal, Kyla Farrugia and Rachela Pace will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria this week, where they will take part in the U/20 indoor Balkan Games.
They will be accompanied by coach Jivko Jetchev, as well as Athletics Malta President Andy Grech and Secretary General Aldrin Cassar. Grech is expected to meet with current with Balkan and interim European Athletics President Dobromir Karamarinov, seeking to complete a partnership between Malta and the entire Balkan region.