National Athletics Championships 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010, 10:26

by Anthony Chircop President Athletics Malta

This coming weekend the two-day National Championship should indeed be very interesting for those who follow athletics.   Coming just two weeks before the European Team Championships which are being held on the 19 & 20 June, this event can be considered as the trials for the selection of the Malta National Team.   One has yet to see some of the best local athletes participating this year, as some, for reasons best known only to them or their coaches, have not taken part in track and field meetings thus far in the season.

A good competition is expected in the women’s long jump with Alexandra Pace, who so far is the only female athlete to surpass the six metre mark, being challenged by Rebecca Camilleri who on several occasions had come close but never managed to go over this mark.  Lovers of the sport auger Martina and Francesca Xuereb good form, in anticipation of their former winning ways in the 200m and 400m events.  In the shorter sprints, one anticipates Diane Borg showing her mettle.  In the corresponding event for men, Rashid Chouhal should expect a stiff challenge from Andy Grech, incidentally the only local athlete, apart from Rashid himself, who in the past five years has jumped over seven meters.   Hopefully Owen Camilleri returns to his good form after his relatively long absence from the track due to an injury.  Another valid athlete who is expected to participate in both the 200m and in the triple jump is Alistair Vella Stiles.

Unfortunately, a notable absence will be Jean Paul Callus in the Javelin throw as will be Charlene Attard in the sprints, both out nursing injuries.   However two or three javelin throwers will be vying for a place in the European Championships, and in the women’s’ sprints some very valid athletes are certain to give Diane Borg a good run for her claims.   In the middle distance, an ever present Mark Herrera is gradually improving his time in the 800m and the 1500m.  A time of 3:55.0 in the 1500m is well within his reach while Jonathan Balzan, who won a strong 10000m in midweek, will certainly be a strong contender for the 5000meres.

The fact that the European Team Championships are being held in Malta, a competition that would be bringing over 500 athletes from 14 different European countries has in fact motivated athletes to try new events, as was the plan of the local Athletics Association.   One should not expect miracles, but athletes who have taken an interest in the pole vault, the hammer as well as in the 400m hurdles, events that our athletes have always shied away from are now attracting attention.

In the field events, Antonella Chouhal has shown a significant progress, demonstrated recently in the Hammer event where the has improved the National record of this event thrice within a matter of days, apart from the fact that she also improved her own record in the Discus late last season.    All in all, the Championships promise to be an exciting time.  Events at the Matthew Micallef Athletic Stadium are to commence at 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.





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