Team Malta has concluded its commitments in the European Athletics Team Championships held in Silesia, Poland with a prestigious fifth place, the highest-ever position ever achieved beyond our shores in this event. Through a series of strong performances in track and field events, the Maltese team improved two positions on its final position in the Third Division of two years ago.
Ireland took top spot in the 15-nation league, followed by Austria and Israel, with these three nations clinching promotion to the second-tier. Placing just behind Bosnia-Herzegovina in fifth, Malta overcame the challenge of strong nations, particularly Eastern European countries including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Indeed, Malta had held on to fourth place for most of the three-day sporting event, only to be undone in the stretch as the Bosnian superiority in field events such as javelin and high jump manifested itself.
Jordan Gusman obtained Malta’s win on the 5000m race with a thrilling last lap completing the distance in a splending time of 14:16.92, ahead of the Austrian, Irish and Israeli rivals. Gina Mcnamara obtained her second runner-up spot at these Championships finishing in 4:28.28 with an impressive finale, just behind Irish Sophie O’Sullivan.
A strong performance was delivered by youngster Beppe Grillo clinching fifth place in the 200m men sprint with a 21.42s timing while Charlotte Wingfield claimed sixth place in the 200m women with 24.43s.
Clare Mcnamara had got Malta off the mark on Thursday with a 36.67m throw in the javelin for a sixth place finish while Ryan John Zammit cleared 1.70m in the high jump to end in ninth place. Claire Azzopardi was unlucky to suffer injury in her first and only jump, but still secured fifth place with her 5.77m effort. It was surely a busy morning for James Armani, managing to obtained respectable scores in both javelin and shotput.
Rosalie Cauchi secured points for Malta in the 3000m steeplechase, completing this speciality in sixth place with a time of 11:36.84. In the mixed 4x400m relay event, Malta closed in sixth place with a 3:31 timing.
At the end of the event, newly-elected Athletics Malta President Aldrin Cassar said: “This was a fantastic result for Team Malta and our athletes who faced strong competitors, some of whom have won medals at highest European levels on an individual basis. These results prove that GSSE 2023 was not a one-off, or a result of competing at home. This is even more so considering that we missed some our top athletes due to injuries or exams. These results fill us with confidence to continue on the current path of investing in our best athletes, while also allocating more resources to the younger generation that will hopefully be inspired by the results our compatriots have achieved in the past days and weeks”.
Malta’s participation at the European Team Championships in Poland was supported by the Maltese Olympic Committee and Sport