On Saturday 21st April, the MAAA organised Challenge Meeting 4 at the Matthew Micallef St John Athletics Stadium. With the athletic season gradually approaching its peak, the favourable weather
On Saturday 14th April, the MAAA organised Challenge Meeting 3 at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium. Despite the windy conditions, the meeting attracted close to 250 athletes including a number of British athletes. The meeting also saw two new National Records in the Hammer events and another in the Men’s 110m Hurdles.
Sarah Busuttil of Rush AC was one of the outstanding athletes of the day. Not only did she win the 100m and 200m Women Open but she also achieved the qualifying mark for the 2018 Championships of the Small States in Liechtenstein in June in both events. In the 100m, she clocked 12.31 to precede Rachel Fitz (Allcomers) by a mere three-hundredths of a second. Sarah then won the 200m in a time of 25.09 while Annalise Vassallo (Zurrieq Wolves) clinched second place in a time of 26.13.
In the Women’s Long Jump there was another close contest between the two Pembroke jumpers Claire Azzopardi and Rebecca Sare. This time round, Claire Azzopardi won the event in 5.60m.
In the Women’s Hammer event, Catriona Cuschieri (St Patricks) recorded a best throw of 41.02m to smash her own U20 National Record. In the Men Open Hammer, Mario Mifsud (Allcomers AC), had a best throw of 49.86 to break his own new national record.
In the 10000m, Lisa Bezzina (Pembroke) set a new personal best of 36:00:86 and in so doing achieved the MQS for the 2019 Small Nations Games in Montenegro. The Men’s 10000m proved to be a close tussle between Charlton Debono (Athletix AC) and Luke Micallef (Pembroke AC) who was running this distance for the first time. The race was decided in the final 200m with Charlton emerging winner in a time of 32:28.36.
The Men’s 100m and 200m were dominated by the visiting British athletes although there were some interesting results by the Maltese sprinters. In the 200m Bradley Mifsud (Pembroke AC) continued to impress by beating the more experienced Steve Camilleri (Pembroke) and Luke Bezzina (St Patrick’s). Mifsud ran a very promising time of 22.17.
The Men’s 400m was won by British athlete Jack Hocking in a fast time of 48.48 but in the final straight Matthew Croker (Savio AC) had to withstand a strong challenge from youngster Omar Elaida (Starmax). Croker edged out Elaida by a mere 0.02 secs to win third place in a time of 50.54. Another interesting youngster Kerstein Micallef (Rush AC) registered a good time of 51.67.
In the Men’s 1100m Hurdles Daniel Saliba (Pembroke) was the only competitor on the day but undeterred by the windy conditions he sailed over the hurdles to set a new national record of 15.79.
The Men’s 1500m and 5000m were dominated from start to finish by Mellieha athletes Philip Vella and Andrew Grech. Philip Vella won the 1500m in a time of 4:18.99 while Andrew Grech won the 5000m in 15.58.00.
The Girls’ U-16 100m produced some very good results. The race was won by Rachela Pace (Pembroke) in a time of 12.65 but the three Rush AC girls all ran below 13 seconds. Kayleigh Chetcuti was second in 12.80, Sarah Chouhal third in 12.82 and fourth runner Kimahri Charles clocked 12.97. The U-16 Boys’ 100m was also a fast race. Kurt Zahra (Rush AC) won the race in 11.74 with Jeremy Zammit (Pembroke) providing some stiff opposition with his time of 12.06.
In the Girls’ U-16 400m, Sarah Chouhal was in a class of her own with a victory in an impressive time of 1:00.42 while in the Boys’ U-16 400m Kurt Zahra won his second event of the day in a time of 55.83 but was closely challenged by Kyle Caruana who ran 56.35 The Boys’ U-16 1500m was won by Jacob Greengrass (Pembroke) in a time of 4:39.14 with second place going to Gabriel Bonnici (La Salle).
The fourth MAAA Challenge Meeting will be held at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium on Saturday 21st April. The meeting starts at 13:30.
On Saturday 7th April the MAAA organised Challenge Meeting 2 at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium. The meeting which comprised over 60 different events for the different age-groups also attracted a number of foreign athletes who were in Malta for a training camp during the Easter period.
Rachel Fitz of Allcomers Aloysians won the 100m and 200m Women Open in fine style. She won the 100m from Lane 1 in 12.57 preceding the Pembroke athlete Carla Scicluna who clocked 12.78. In the 200m race, running from lane 8 Fitz and into a headwind hit the finish line in 25.57. The St Patrick’s athlete Janet Richards placed a close second.
There were other interesting performances in the Women’s Open category. In the Long Jump there was a close tussle between the two Pembroke athletes Rebecca Sare and Claire Azzopardi. In Saturday’s competition, Rebecca won the event with a best jump of 5.61m while Claire was a mere 6cms behind.
Rebecca’s winning jump also meant that she achieved the qualifying mark for the 2018 Championships of the Small States due to be held in Liechtenstein in June. This means that she becomes the second long-jumper to qualify as Claire Azzopardi had also achieved the qualifying standard in Challenge Meeting 1.
In the Women’s Pole Vault, Peppyna Dalli (Pembroke), the former gymnast won her event with a very promising jump of 3.40m.
In the Men Open events, one of the most eye-catching performances was that of Bradley Mifsud (Pembroke). Mifsud who earlier this year set a new National Record in the Javelin gave evidence of his versatility by winning the 200m in an impressive 22.43 ahead of Warren Zammit (Rush AC) who clinched second place in a good time of 22.92
The 400m was won by Savio stalwart Matthew Croker in a time of 50.90. Kerstein Micallef (Rush AC) managed to notch second place in the 400m race ahead of the more experienced Mark Mifsud (Pembroke).
In the 1500m man, favourite Jean Paul Debono of Zurrieq Wolves, had a clear victory in 4.16.13 ahead of Philip Vella (Mellieha) and club-mate Neil Brimmer.
The Men’s 3000m race was perhaps the most exciting competition of the day. In the early stages, Athletix AC runner Charlton Debono was closely challenged by Dillon Cassar of Raptorz AC. As the race progressed, Debono opened a gap on Cassar but in the final laps Italian runner Rocco Lancelotti came from behind to pip Debono to the post by a mere two-hundredths of a second. Lancelotti won the race in a time of 8:54.68.
In the Open Discus, Luke Farrugia (Rush AC), who is aiming to become the first Maltese discus thrower to go beyond 50m had a winning throw of 48.45m. In the Junior Category, Karol Spiteri (Savio) made a welcome return to competition after being side-lined for many months because of injury. He confirmed his promise by winning his age-category with a throw of 43.03m
In a meeting which attracted over 200 participants, there were also a number of good performances in the Under-16 and the Under-14 Categories. In the Girls’ U-16 200m, three athletes from Rush AC – Kimahri Charles, Sarah Chouhal and Kayleigh Chetcuti – managed to dip below the 27 sec mark with Kimahri snatching victory in a time of 26.56 from Sarah Chouhal who clocked 26.68.
In the Girls’ U-16 Long Jump, Rachela Pace (Pembroke) and Kayleigh Chetcuti both jumped well over 5 metres with Rachela Pace winning the event with an excellent jump of 5.57m.
In the U-16 Boys’ Long Jump, Jeremy Zammit of Pembroke won the event with a winning jump of 5.92m while Beppe Grillo (Rush AC) won the U-16 200m race in 25.04. In the U-16 Boys 800m, La Salle athlete Matthias Fenech clocked an impressive 2:11.07 while team mates Gabriel Bonnici and Julian Galea Soler were second and third.
In the U-14 Boys’ 1200m, La Salle runner Isaac Bonnici proved to be in a class of his own by dominating the event from start to finish and recording a final time of 3:58.31, while fellow La Sallian Matthew Galea Soler won the U-14 300m in a time of 44.35.
The Third MAAA Challenge Meetings will be held at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium on Saturday 14th April. (1:30 p.m.)