26th Jun 2017
Determined performances from Maltese athletes secure fourth place in overall classification.
The European Athletics Team Championships -Third League brought to Malta over three hundred foreign athletes and gave forty Maltese athletes the opportunity to represent their country on home soil, competing against some of the best athletes in this division.
The two-day athletics bonanza saw a total of fifty-three events covering field and track disciplines and came to a nail biting finish, when Malta narrowly lost third place and possible promotion to the second league – a position they were vying for until late Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, Maltese athletes gave a fine show, their fighting spirit having never waned throughout the weekend which saw temperatures rising and wind conditions rather strong at times.
Malta faired quite well overall in this area. Charlotte Wingfield continued to work her magic following on her success in the recently held Games of the Small States of Europe. Wingfield dominated the 100m and 200m races, winning both and contributing top points for Malta. Wingfield then joined Sarah Busuttil, Annalise Vassallo and Rachel Fitz to take second place in the 4 x 100m relay.
Janet Richard clocked in second place on the 400m race on Saturday and gave a strong performance on Sunday in the 4 x 400m race when her final sprint saw her bring the team up from fourth to third place. Lisa Marie Bezzina made up for her GSSE disappointment when she registered at time of 10 minutes 6.96 seconds in the 3000m race. Rebecca Fitz took second place in the 100 hurdles, milliseconds away from the first placed Victoria Rausch from Luxembourg. Roberta Schembri played good tactics to gradually close off the 5000m race in second place.
Steve Camilleri making a return to track events, joined the Males 4 x 100m Relay team, together with Julian Mifsud, Luke Bezzina u Omar Elaida clocked in second place with a time of 42.25 seconds.
Luke Bezzina registered a third place and time of 10.99 in the 100m. Charlton Debono settled for fourth place in the 5000m race.
Peppijna Dalli scored the first ten points for Malta on Saturday afternoon after she took top billing in the Women’s Pole Vault having jumped a height of 3.31m.
In the Triple Jump, whilst claiming fourth place with a jump of 11.76m, GSSE Bronze Medallist Rebecca Sare improved on her San Marino Result by 0.14m. Ian Paul Grech took third place in both the Long Jump and Triple Jump registering a distance of 7.03m and 13.99m respectively.
In the Hammer Throw, Mario Mifsud placed third with a throw of 47.61m, whilst Catriona Cuschieri took fifth place with a 34.59m throw in discus.
The Championships saw three National Records being broken, two of which had been established in the nineties.
Daniel Saliba knocked off Sean Camilleri’s twenty-two-year record in the 110m Hurdles when he clocked a time of 15.87. Saliba’s time saw him take third place on the second day of competition.
Andrew Cassar Torregiani broke the long standing High Jump record, established by Edward Calleja in 1998. Cassar Torregiani’s feat now sees the record established at 1.90m.
In the 3000m steeplechase, Monalisa Camilleri, broke her own record established during the 2015 European Games in Baku. Camilleri, who came in third place, clocked a time of 11 minutes 19.6 seconds.
Whilst the Maltese flag featured consistently in second place throughout the competition, it was in the final throes of the weekend that Bosnia & Herzegovina and Georgia pipped Malta to possible promotion and third place. Although only half a point separating Malta from Georgia might be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, the results produced by Maltese athletes over the weekend should not be dismissed.
“Maltese athletes have shown a lot of commitment and there is potential to be tapped. The European Athletics Team Championships Third League has given our athletes the opportunity to tap into this potential. With ongoing investment in equipment, facilities and competition opportunities, we look forward to further growth from our athletes” concluded Edwin Attard, President, Malta Amateur Athletics Association.
Results and images from the competition can be found on www.malta2017.org
Photo Credits: Domenic Aquilina, Dominic Borg, Angie Conti