Athletics: Relay teams register best-ever timings in Sprint Relay festival in Florence

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The Maltese 4×100 relay teams continued their preparations for the Games of the Small States of Europe 2023 in Italy over the weekend with a strong performance at an International Meeting in Florence.   

The relay teams enjoyed a very positive performance, with the women’s team going from strength to strength notching their second national record this season. The Maltese quartet of Claire Azzopardi, Janet Richard, Carla Scicluna and Charlotte Wingfield came home in 44.98s, improving by 0.39sec their previous record established at the Marsa Athletics Stadium last month and a full 1.26 seconds from the record that stood till this time of the year last year. They ran against the National Italian Relay teams and only finished second to the top team who is looking for Qualification for the Athletics World Championships.   

The men were not to be undone, and Beppe Grillo, Graham Pellegrini, Gaetano di Franco and Luke Bezzina, running against, amongst other, the Italian Olympic relay Champions, as well as their B team, U20 team and some other of the best Italian athletes, registered a formidable 40.62s time. This is the fastest time ever registered by a Maltese representative team, though will not be considered as a national record with Di Franco not holding Maltese nationality. However, in view of GSSE rules which allow participation of long-established permanent residents in a country, he will be available for selection for the upcoming Games. 

The same athletes today move to the internationally-renowned training base in Formia where they will continue with their preparation for the next four days. The Olympic Training Centre in Formia, managed by the Italian Olympic Federation (CONI) has served as a regular training base for the Maltese athletes over the past three years.   

The Maltese athletes are accompanied by their coaches Rebecca Sare’ (women’s team) and Karl Farrugia (men’s team) with the delegation being led by Technical Director Mario Bonello and assisted Italian National Team Consultant Antonio Laguardia and Performance Data Analyst, Brenda Muscat. 

This competition and training camp was possible through the assistance of SportMalta, the National Development and Social Fund the Maltese Olympic Committee and Athletics Malta.

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