History was made at the Matthew Micallef St John Stadium last weekend with the staging of the first ever Small States of Europe Athletics Championships.
The venue in Marsa was a hive of activity all day with 18 European national athletics federation here for a one-day competition that included 22 events.
On a superb day of action, Moldova won four individual events to come out on top in the teams classification with 125.5 points.
They finished ahead of Cyprus and Iceland, who both accumulated 109.5 points.
The Maltese team totalled 70 points for a very respectable fourth place in the final standings. During the meeting, the home athletes managed five individual bronze medals, four of which in the sprints.
Kevin Moore was third in the men’s 100m and 200m while Charlotte Wingfield achieved the same results in women’s sprints.
The other third place for Malta on the day came from Lisa Marie Bezzina in the women’s 3,000m.
The seasoned Bezzina ran a great tactical race to snatch bronze in the home straight.
Long jumpers Ian Paul Grech and Rebecca Sarè were both sixth in their respective competitions as all contenders had to deal with a headwind.
Grech cleared 7.02 metres while Sarè’s best was 5.56 metres.
The home 800m runners also stood out during the championships.
Matthew Croker achieved a personal best of 1:53.92 and Francesca Borg ran a seasonal best of 2:14.96.
The meeting for small states included some top-level performances from overseas athletes.
Iceland’s Anita Hinriksdottir was supreme in the 800m race which she won by over three seconds in a world-class time of 2:01.71.
Elsewhere, the men’s 800m was one of the most keenly contested events of the afternoon as Kosovo’s Musa Hajdari surged out of the pack near the end to win the gold medal in a swift 1:48.43.
In the jumps, two Georgians stole the show. Valentina Lyashenko won the women’s high jump with a strong leap of 1.90m, while team-mate Bakhana Khorava took the men’s long jump with 8.02m.
The throws events also saw some top-notch results at Marsa.
Azerbaijan’s Hanna Skydan was first in the women’s hammer with a massive 71.41m while a third-round effort of 19.99m gave Bob Bertemes, of Luxembourg, victory in the shot putt.
1. Moldova 125.50 points; 2. Cyprus 109.50; 2. Iceland 109.50; 4. Malta 70; 5. Luxembourg 54.50; 6. Azerbaijan 51.50; 7. Armenia 42; 8. Bosnia 34; 9. Montenegro 28; 10. Georgia 25; 11. Macedonia 19.50; 12. San Marino 16; 13. Albania 14; 14. Andorra 11; 15. Kosovo 10; 15. Gibraltar 10; 17. Liechtenstein 6; 18. Monaco 4.
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