On Wednesday 13th, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17 th June the MAAA organised its annual National Championships at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium. The programme consisted of thirty-eight Open Track and Field events. A number of very promising Under-16 athletes were also allowed to participate as ‘guests’.
Although the three days produced a host of excellent performances some athletes deserve special mention. These include Jacob El Aida and Charlotte Wingfield who won sprint doubles in the 100m and 200m, Mona Lisa Camilleri who won three titles and set a new National Record in the 3000m steeplechase and Mario Mifsud and Peppyna Dalli who also set new National records in the Men’s Hammer and Women’s Pole Vault. In addition, there were very good performances by Ian Paul Grech in the Men’s Long Jump, young Raquela Pace in the Women’s Long Jump and Janet Richard in the Women’s 400m.
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Elaida Chaffey (Starmax AC) certainly produced the goods with excellent victories in the Men’s 100m and 200m. In the 100m, Jacob’s ability to maintain his form through to the finish line probably won him the race. In the end, his time of 10.82 meant that he was slightly ahead of Luke Bezzina (St Patricks) and Steve Camilleri (Pembroke Athleta) who clocked 10.86 and 10.91 respectively. All three runners ran seasonal bests. In his first ever outing in the Seniors’ 100m, young Kurt Zahra (Rush AC) ran an impressive 11.29 to break a long-standing U16 all-time best performance for the 200m.
In the Men’s 200m, Jacob was again in dominant mood and in a very tight finish emerged winner in a strong time of 22.03 while Steve Camilleri was second in 22.12. Third place went to Reece Dimech (Starmax) whose time of 22.24 allowed him to edge out Omar El Aida by a mere hundredth of a second.
In the Men’s 400m, the Maltese-Australian Damien Mizzi (Aloysians Allcomers) came from behind to beat Reece Dimech. Mizzi clocked 49.85 while Dimech’s time was 50.15. Third place went to Mark Mifsud (Pembroke Athleta) who managed a PB of 51.67.
Matthew Croker (Savio AC) retained his Men’s 800m national title in a good time of 1:58.26 with the two Zurrieq Wolves runners, Jean Paul Debono and Neil Brimmer second and third respectively.
Jean Paul Debono, however, proved his worth by winning the Men’s 1500m in 4:10.74 thus preceding the experienced Mark Herrera (Pembroke Athleta) who was second in 4:19.14 and the young promising St Patrick’s runner Jean Claude Randon who was third overall in 4:21.25
Despite running solo for most of the race, Luke Micallef (Pembroke Athleta) ran the 3000m Men’s steeplechase in a noteworthy 9:43.62.
Both the 10000m and 5000m proved to be a close struggle between Charlton Debono (Athletix) and Andrew Grech (Mellieha). Charlton sweated hard to earn a double for the third year in succession. The races followed an identical pattern, with Charlton and Andrew fighting tooth and nail the whole way with Charlton only edging out Andrew in the final sprint to the finish line.
In the 10,000m, Charlton covered the distance in 32:28.40 whilst Andrew was a close second in 32.31.10. In the 5000m, Charlton won in 15:47.89, Andrew Grech was second in 15:49.42 while the Raptorz youngster Dillion Cassar was third in 16.27.79.
Pembroke’s jumper Ian Paul Grech’s consistency earned him a fine double in the Men’s Long Jump and Triple Jump. He won the Triple Jump with a leap of 13.77m against the 13.59m of his club mate Godfrey Sapiano. In the Long Jump, Ian’s best jump of 7.33m was just ten centimetres away from his PB; second place went to Jeremy Borg (Pembroke) in 6.82m while Andrew Cassar Torregiani of Pembroke was third in 6.66m
In the Men’s Hammer, Mario Mifsud (Alloysian Allcomers) set his third National Record of the season and a new Championship Record with a massive throw of 51.65m. Luca Martini (Rush AC) set a new U20 championship record of 50.27m whilst Savio AC thrower Karol Spiteri won the U18 category with a distance of 36.65m
Luke Farrugia (Rush AC) broke a new Championship record in the Discus with a throw of 49.62m. Karol Spiteri (Savio) had good throws in both the U18 shot put and the U18 discus with 12.59m and 40.53m respectively claiming both National titles for his age category.
Savio AC Liam McKay won the high jump event in 1.75m
Charlotte Wingfield (St Patrick’s) was dominant in the women’s sprints winning both the 100m and 200m races. In the 100m, she ran an outstanding 11.72 while Sarah Busuttil (Rush) and Carla Scicluna (Pembroke AC) placed second and third overall with promising PBs of 12.06 and 12.22
In the 200m, Charlotte’s winning time was 24.56, while Sarah Busuttil was again second in 25.17 with St Patrick’s athlete Janet Richard third in 25.37
In the Women’s 400m, Janet Richard (St Patricks), fresh from two CSSE bronze medals proved retained her National Title by running an excellent Seasonal Best of 56.00. Second place went to Marilyn Grech (St Patricks) in a time of 59.22 which was marginally faster than that of U16 runner Sarah Chouhal who clocked 59.37.
Despite fading towards the end, Paula Grech (St Patricks) won the 800m title in a good time of 2:15.13. Nina Zammit Moore (La Salle) the Youth National Champion was second in 2:20.15
Libertas athlete Mona Lisa Camilleri achieved an enviable treble in the Women’s 3000 Steeplechase, 1500m and 5000m and reached the A standard MQS for GSSE 2019 in Montenegro in both the Steeplechase and 1500m.
In the 3000m Steeplechase she established a new CR and NR of 11:09.7 while in the 1500m, she was in full control from start to finish and won the race in 4.39.36 from Angele Satariano (AS Libertas) and Celine Pace (Pembroke Athleta) who placed second and third respectively. In the 1500m, Nina Zammit Moore, who was running as a guest covered the distance in fast time 4:49.49 which was a mere ten-hundredths of a second off the U16 all-time best performance for this distance.
Mona Lisa went on to win the 5000m in a PB of 17.50.38 to precede Roberta Schembri (St Patrick’s) and Doreen Camilleri (Zurrieq Wolves).
The Women s 10,000m which was held on Wednesday 13th proved to be a close tussle between Lisa Marie Bezzina (Pembroke) and Roberta Schembri (St Patricks). The decisive moment came 600m from the finish when Roberta could not respond to Lisa’s outstanding final acceleration. Lisa finished in a great time of 36:29.01 while Roberta was a close second in 36:38.60 Both Lisa and Roberta achieved the A standard MQS for GSSE 2019. Josann Attard Pulis third in 38:26.00.
In the Women’s Triple Jump, Rebecca Sare (Pembroke Athleta) was in good from and won the event with a jump of 12.08 and also achieved the A standard for the 2019 GSSE in Montenegro. Her club mate Elena Jetcheva was second with a jump of 11.67m and third place went to Savio Athletic jumper Kristy Fenech in 10.03m
Without doubt, the biggest surprise of the Championships arrived in the Women’s Long Jump where Rachela Pace, who was taking part as a guest on the strength of her victory in the U-16 National Long Jump Championships, managed to outclass the Senior jumpers with a jump of 5.70m. In so doing, she achieved a new U16 all-time overall performance in the Long Jump. In view of the fact that Raquela only had ‘guest’ status, the final standings saw Rebecca Sare and Claire Azzopardi both Pembroke Athleta placing first and second with jumps of 5.62m and 5.48m respectively. Kristy Fenech (Savio) was third with a leap of 4.53m
Evergreen Antonella Chouhal (Rush AC) retained her National titles for the umpteenth time by breaking a new Championship record in the Hammer Event with a throw of 44.47m, which was also less than half metre away from her NR. Catriona Cuschieri (St Patricks) won the U20 age category with a throw of 37.65m, while Mireya Cassar (St Patricks) produced an excellent throw of 43.68m in the U16 category. Another National title went to Antonella in Discus with a Seasonal best of 38.51m
Peppyna Dalli (Pembroke Athlete), the sole athlete in the Women’s Pole Vault confirmed her excellent form with an impressive Championship and National Record of 3.70m which was just ten centimetres away from the MQS for the forthcoming GSSE 2019.
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