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Janet Richard, Farrugia named Athletics Malta Top Athletes for 2020

Janet Richard and Luke Farrugia have been named as the Athlete of the Year, the local governing body announced on Friday.

Richard distinguished herself in 2020 when she set a new national record in the 400m at the National Championships in August.

The Pembroke Athleta runner completed the one-lap race in a stunning time of 54.06 seconds.

Her performance was 0.28 seconds faster than the previous national best set by Tanya Blake in 2001.

“Season 2020 has been somewhat of a blur. I started out the year with a set of goals, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused everything to shutdown overnight. Competitions were being cancelled left and right and just like that the season was over before it even started. We were forced to adapt our training to running on the road and staying as fit as we could which was not easy,” Richard said.

“Staying motivated and training with no purpose was extremely difficult but we all powered through.

“The uncertainty that quarantine brought with it including the not knowing when we will be allowed back onto the track, the disruption of a routine, staying indoors and on top of all that, the writing and submission of my thesis and completing my degree online. It all became very overwhelming.

“When the track eventually did reopen, I had no expectations, I was just really enjoying running and training. I am extremely grateful to our association who despite everything still fought for us to have an athletics season. Although competitions were strange since all was done behind closed doors, I am thankful that we were given the opportunity to compete.

“Breaking the national record at the National Championships was such an incredible feeling and the fact that so many of us were able to produce such great results shows the resilience within the athletics community who showed that not even a global pandemic could stop us.”

On his part Farrugia improvedby almost two metres his discus throw, setting the new benchmark at 51.92 metres.

“This year was quite different from past years, mainly in terms of competitions abroad,” Farrugia said.

Luke Farrugia in action at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium.

“My motivation and desire to achieve my goal remained the same though. With the help of my coach Antonella Chouhal, my club Rush Athletic Club and my family, we were able to overcome and achieve one of the best years thus far throughout my throwing career.

“I look forward to seeing where I end up next season.”

Farrugia was one of four athletes from the Rush Athletic Club to win award. The others were Luca Martini (U-23), Sarah Chouhal (U-18) and Ben Micallef who won the Best Technical achievement in the U-23 category.

Athletes of the Year

Female Open: Janet Richard

Female U-23: Claire Azzopardi

Female U-20: Carla Scicluna

Female U-18: Sarah Chouhal

Female U-16: Michela Caruana

Female U-14: Thea Shoemake

Men Open: Luke Farrugia

Men U-23: Luca Martini

Men U-20: Jacob El Aida Chaffey

Men U-18: Graham Pellegrini

Men U-16: Matthew Galea Soler

Men U-14: Luca Gerada

Best Technical Achievement

Men Open: Jordan Gusman.

Men U-23: Benjamin Micallef

Special Achievement: Antonio Flores

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