Janet Richard and Jeremy Zammit are two of Malta’s biggest talents in track and field events as the two young athletes, despite their young age, have established themselves as the best in their respective disciplines, setting also a spate of national records.
In this week’s edition of GAMEON, Ben Camille spoke with the two rising stars and tried to get to know their development in the sport.
Janet Richard caught the headlines in the last national championships when she managed to break Tanya Blake’s long-standing 400 metres record of 54.29 seconds that had existed for almost two decades. In fact, she completed the race in a time of 54.06 seconds.
“To break the record was a pleasant surprise as we were coming from a COVID-19 lockdown that forced the closure of the athletics facilities in Malta and we could only train on the road,” Richard said.
“Then, Athletics Malta managed to start organising competitions which culminated with the national championships. I didn’t set any goals for the day other than to perform at my best so to break such a record was amazing.
“Setting a new national record is, without doubt, the result of years of hard work in the sport. For me to lower my time by a second took me three years – that how hard it is.”
Richard is currently preparing for this year’s Championship for Small States and the 2023 GSSE which will both be held in Malta and has set her targets very high.
“I’m looking forward to taking part in the Championship for Small States,” Richard said.
“Last year I won a silver medal and this year my goal is to make an upgrade and take gold.”
Jeremy Zammit is Malta’s leading long jumper. In fact, during the past 12 months he has managed to set a number of national marks and in fact, he holds the best jumps in the U-14, U-16, U-18 and U-23 and senior age groups.
However, the most amazing fact about Zammit that currently he is currently ranked first in Europe and second in the world.
“When I was young, my father, who was a sports person himself, encouraged me to practice various sports but then I decided to take up athletics and specialise in long jump,” Zammit said.
“At the moment, I am stepping up my preparations for the Championship for Small States where I will be against some very strong opposition. In fact, one of the athletes that will be here competed against me in the European U-20 Championships.
“My long-term goal at the moment is to win the long jump even in the Games of the Small States of Europe next year.”
But looking ahead to the future, Zammit has some very ambitious goals.
“I want to secure automatic qualification for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 but my long-term goal is to try and win a medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.”
Hottest games predictions
The challenge between Ben Camille and Times of Malta Sports Editor Valhmor Camilleri is heating up, as they continue trying to predict the results of the hottest games happening this weekend.
How did they do last week?
After some surprise results last weekend, Valhmor Camilleri and Ben Camille failed to predict a correct score for the first time since the start of the challenge.
In fact, both they only managed to predict that Barcelona would beat Atletico Madrid, to gain ten points each.
Total Scores after week 4
In the overall standings, Valhmor Camilleri is leading the way with 240 points while Ben Camille is trailing close behind with 170 points.
We will keep you updated with a tally of their scores every week. A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.
Napoli vs Inter (Saturday at 18.00)
Inter’s Serie A lead will be on the line on Saturday when the champions travel to Napoli for another huge clash with a title rival.
Defeat in last weekend’s Milan derby pulled Simone Inzaghi’s Inter back to their pursuers, the gap between them and both second-placed Napoli and neighbours AC Milan cut to just a point before the big trip south.
With Milan, hosting Sampdoria on Sunday, in fine form after thumping Lazio 4-0 in the Italian Cup on Wednesday, Inter face the serious prospect of being dumped down to third should they lose at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Inter did bounce back on Tuesday by beating Roma to set up another pair of Milan derbies in the two-leg semi-finals of the Italian Cup, but Inzaghi is in no doubt of the danger Napoli present to their title defence.
Boosting Napoli’s chances of claiming top spot is the potential return of their African spine, with defensive lynchpin Kalidou Koulibaly and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa back in Italy from the Africa Cup of Nations. Star striker Victor Osimhen came back early and has found scoring form.
Ben Camille’s prediction: Napoli vs Inter 0-0
Valhmor Camilleri’s prediction: Napoli vs Inter 1-1.
Valletta vs Hibernians (Saturday at 16.00)
Premier League leaders Hibernians will be looking to strengthen top spot in the Premier League when they take struggling Valletta at the National Stadium.
The Paolites head into the match in rich vein of form as last week’s 1-0 win over Sliema Wanderers has preserved their four-point lead at the top of the standings and are just one step away from securing their place in the Championship Pool this season.
Hibernians will start favourites to clinch all three points against the faltering Valletta who have not yet won a Premier League match since last November.
But the arrival of coach Danilo Doncic at Valletta FC could have a galvanising effect on the capital club who cannot afford to drop any points if they are to stay in the hunt for a top-six finish at the end of the second round.
Ben Camille’s prediction: Valletta vs Hibernians 0-1.
Valhmor Camilleri’s prediction: Valletta vs Hibernians 0-2.
Do you reckon you can beat Ben and Valhmor? Let us know your predictions for this weekend’s hottest matches in the comments below.
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