Charlotte Wingfield was the star of the 2015 National Championships, held at Marsa recently.
The St Patrick’s AC sprinter set a new national record of 11.73 in the 100m thus eclipsing her own best mark set this year. UK-based Wingfield also won the 200m but her performance of 24.59 was hampered by a strong headwind.
The women’s 100m produced some very interesting results.
Rachel Fitz (Allcomers AC) was second in 12.24 and Robyn Zammit (Pembroke) edged Sarah Busuttil (Libertas) for third place in 12.36.
Surely, with such talent at hand, it will be disappointing that the MAAA will not have a girls’ 4x100m team in the Iceland GSSE next week.
Good performances were also registered in the women’s 400m.
Janet Richard (St Patrick’s) clocked a personal best of 56.00 and Francesca Borg (Allcomers) also clocked a very good 56.79. Charlene Attard was a strong third in 57.99.
Borg showed her current form by emerging clear winner in the 800 metres.
In the long jump, Rebecca Camilleri confirmed that she is getting into top gear with a winning effort of 6.17m as Pembroke team-mate Dorianne Micallef scored a double.
A jump of 1.60m gave Micallef victory in the high jump and a leap of 12.03m in the triple jump saw her turning the tables on pre-competition favourite Rebecca Sare who managed 11.99m.
Mona Lisa Camilleri (AS Libertas) also registered a double on track.
After setting a new Malta record of 11.28.0 in the steeplechase, Camilleri was also a runaway victor in the 1,500m.
Stalwarts Lisa Marie Bezzina (Pembroke) and Giselle Camilleri (St Patrick’s) were the clear winners in the 3,000m and 10,000m.
Good progress was also registered in hurdles events.
Rebecca Fitz (St Patrick’s) outran Sarah Mifsud (Allcomers) in the 100m hurdles in 16.09 and in the 400m Marilyn Grech (Allcomers) finished strongly in 1:07.34.
Antonella Chouhal won three throwing titles – hammer, shot and discus – as Joanne Vella gave proof of her versatility by winning the javelin after success in pole vault.
Kevin Moore’s winning time of 47.88 in the 400m was the leading men’s championships showing.
Reece Dimech (Starmax) came through to finish second as Matthew Croker (Savio) got the better of Neil Brimmer (Żurrieq Wolves) for third in 50.43.
Moore (AS Libertas) followed up with victory in the 200m but it was difficult to read too much into his time of 22.03secs because of the unfavourable wind conditions.
The 100m was shorn of some of the names that dominated local sprinting in 2014.
Nonetheless, Rashid Chouhal confirmed that despite the years, he is still able to deliver the goods.
His time of 11.06 was enough to stave off the challenge from Julian Mifsud.
The middle-distance events provided some keen competition.
In the 1,500m, training partners Simon Spiteri (St Patrick’s) and Dario Mangion (Pembroke) kept up the pace by changing the lead at strategic points.
In the final 300m, Spiteri’s superior finish won him the race in 4:00.3. Mangion clocked a personal best of 4.01.8 and the ever-improving Jean Paul Debono (Zurrieq Wolves) caught the eye with a promising 4:06.3.
The 800m was more of a tactical affair. The time at the bell was not fast but then Croker took a decisive lead to edge ahead of Spiteri.
Croker’s time was 1.58.52 with Spiteri, Brimmer and Debono all dipping under two minutes.
In long distances, Andrew Grech (Mellieħa AC) gave ample proof of his current form as he was head and shoulders above the rest, clocking 15.41.63 in the 5,000m and 32.06.5 in the 10,000m.
Another notable achievement was the steeplechase record of 9:31.78 set by Mark Herrera (Pembroke Athleta).
To his credit, this runner has taken this event to new heights this season and it is a pity that he has been left out of the GSSE team as, probably, he would have been able to continue improving on his performances.
Herrera had another victory in the 3,000m where he outsprinted Ibrahim Hussein (St Patrick’s) to the finish line.
In the throws, solid displays came from Pembroke juniors Luke Farrugia and Bradley Mifsud.
Farrugia had an excellent throw of 49.49m in discus to set a new junior record. Similarly, Mifsud ventured into uncharted territory with a putt of 14.53m.
Ian Paul Grech (Pembroke) confirmed his status as the country’s leading triple jumper with a remarkable 14.33m while in the vertical jumps, the pole vault title went to Clayton Sheldon (Pembroke) and Andrew Cassar Torreggiani (Pembroke) took the honours in high jump.
All in all, the championships were a successful event.
The junior and senior events suggested that for this year’s European Games the national team will be stronger than the one of Tbilisi in 2014.
It is also clear that the team for the GSSE could have been considerably larger had the qualifying standards been more realistic.
Various good performances in a wide range of events at the championships also showed that the sport has a healthy following, thanks mainly to clubs, dedicated coaches and volunteers.
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