World Athletics Day in Malta

Friday, May 14, 2010, 9:34

Malta joined in with the annual worldwide festival of youth to organize the World Athletics Day, one of the busiest programmes of competitions in the annual global Athletics calendar of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).  This event is proving to be ever popular, with 161 of the 213 IAAF Member Federations participating this year.

“This was a glorious day for Maltese athletics” exclaimed Giselle Camilleri, a teacher at the Girls’ St Claire College Pembroke, at the conclusion of events on the second day at the Marsa athletic track.  Herself an accomplished elite athlete who represented Malta on numerous occasions, this long distance runner is the perfect example to encourage young students to take up the sport, as she is undoubtedly doing, judging from the results achieved by athletes from her school.

This is precisely the formula advocated and evolved by the IAAF, since it introduced the first World Athletics Day in 1996.  Initially, it was planned exclusively for youngsters who were members of clubs affiliated to IAAF Member Federations, but, in recent years, the scope of the project was broadened to include the participation of school children in individual and team competitions, according to its World Plan “to make Athletics the number one sport in schools”.  Thus, the World Athletics Day has become a complete and important event which annually promotes the noble sport of athletics around the world.

Now in its fifth year, the World Athletics Day for school children has been organized in Malta in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, through the sterling work of its Sports Promotion Unit and the efforts of the Malta Schools Sports Federation, the latter promoting the two-day events among the private and Church schools affiliated to this organization.  On the first day the age group for these athletics’ activities took in boys and girls born in 1997 and 1998 while on the second day the corresponding events involved boys and girls born during 1995 and 1996, with Athletics Malta including other select events for older students born during 1994.

In addition, Athletics Malta last year had introduced Shields for each of the four main groupings, thereby spurring on the competition among the school children to determine the ‘best’ school.  This coveted title was contested this year by no less than 132 boys and 126 girls on the first day and another 140 boys and 143 girls on the second day.  Ten full teams for boys and nine full teams for girls were present on the first day, with a token representation from another three girls’ schools; in the seniors’ competition, the number of full teams were inverted, with four schools, two boys’ and two girls’, each sending a token representation.

For the record, St Aloysius College emerged the superior athletics establishment among the boys, winning on both days with handsome margins, scoring 63 points on each day.  The results in the female section saw St Tereza College Mriehel triumphant for the second year running among the juniors, totalling 53 points, with St Monica School Birkirkara emerging clear winners among the senior girls with a tally of 67 points.

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