An incredible display of local talent came to a close last weekend at the Matthew Micallef St John Athletics stadium at the Cavalieri Art Hotel National Championships.
Thirty events unfolded under the scorching sun with no less than in 50 per cent of the events, new names, timings and distances were jotted down in Malta’s athletic history books.
Janet Richard (Pembroke Athleta) produced one of the most remarkable performances of these championships breaking Tania Blake’s 17-year old record in the 400m, which the latter had set during the Games for Small States of Europe held on home soil.
Richard held off her tears as she dominated the field and crossed the finish line in an impressive 54.06s.
Despite this record performance, Richard doubled up with a 200m win on Sunday too.
Antonio Flores (Żurrieq Wolves) kept up his sterling performances with another two national Paralympic records in both T64 100m (12.70s) and 200m (25.40). The latter was only 0.28 of a second away from the minimum qualifying time to book his ticket to the Olympics in Tokyo 2021 next year.
Daniel Saliba (Pembroke Athleta) in the high hurdles (110mh) broke his third national record this year with a time of 15.30 seconds. Saliba, who trains and competes alone, is another sportsman with a bright future ahead of him who is targeting many international events to gain better exposure.
Jacob Elaida Chaffey (Starmax) achieved a prolific sprint double in the 100m (10.74) and 200m (22.15), the second time in the space of two years.
Carla Scicluna (Pembroke Athleta) was the winner of the 100m in the female category, bettering athletes in more senior categories. Her time was a personal best of 12.11.
Dillon Cassar and Charlton Debono took their friendly rivalry to the oval track, with the former overcoming the more experienced athlete on the day in personal best time of 14.59.10 in the 5,000 metres race.
Both athletes will hope to continue their shine on the road as they prepare for the MAAA road running league in October.
At the end of this action-packed weekend, a visibly emotional MAAA president Andy Grech said: “The future of athletics never looked so bright! Besides the overwhelming amount of positive results, I am proud to say we were able to turn a negative situation (no spectators) into a positive one by live streaming our event.
“This brought together running enthusiasts from all over the world (21 countries in total), with our event being closely followed by a little over 5,000 online viewers over the weekend.
“This collective positive energy brought the best out of athletes, who never seemed as though they had the toughest year (mentally and physically) to date.”
Besides national records, several championship and age category records were broken throughout the National Championships.
Championship records were achieved by Luca Martini (Rush) in the Hammer throw, the 4×100 Men Rush AC relay team and the 4 x100 Women Pembroke Athleta relay team (aside from the national records which were broken).
AGE CATEGORY RECORDS
Rachela Pace (Pembroke Athleta) Triple Jump 18 – 11.87 metres.
Sarah Chouhal (Rush AC) Hammer Throw U-18 – 52.26 metres.
Sarah Chouhal (Rush AC) 400 metres hurdles U-20 1:06.27.
Jacob Elaida Chaffey (Starmax) 100m U-20 – 10.74 seconds.
Mark Herrera (Pembroke Athleta) 1,500m M35 – 4:15.62.
Peter Azzopardi (Pembroke Athleta) 1,500m M55 – 4:46.66.
Rachid Chouhal (Rush AC) 200m M45 – 23.66.