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Championship records tumble at Athletics Malta nationals

The increasing temperatures have not impeded Malta’s elite athletes from producing another strong showing at the Marsa Stadium as Athletics Malta held its annual National Championships.

No less than seven championships records tumbled throughout the course of the week in various track and field events.

Young sensation Gabriel Farrugia set a new Under 20 national record on the 3000m mark, with an 8:51.88 timing, breaking his previous best by two full seconds.

In the process, he became the Under 20 champion on the distance, claiming his first senior national championships podium.

Luke Micallef (Pembroke) won the race and the senior title in 8.36.88, ahead of David Borg (Gozo Athletix) in 8.43.67.

One of the most impressive performances belongs to Rush AC’s 17-year-old athlete Isaac Bonnici who claimed the senior national title in the 800m with a 1:58.58 time, establishing a new Under 18 Championship record in the process.

La Salle’s Stefan Cassar posted a new Under 18 Championship Record winning his age category in 1.00.99 on the 400m.

National record-holder Luke Micallef completed a treble of wins, taking home the 3000m steeplechase for the seventh year with a 9:10.36, retaining his title ahead of Dario Mangion (9:53.63) as well as the 1,500m in 4:03.79.

In the pole vault, new championship records for La Salle’s Nicolai Bonello (4.30m) and for Sana Grillo (Pembroke) with 3.70m en route to claiming the national championship.

It was a remarkable week for Pembroke’s Mireya Cassar, with a new championship record in the hammer throw with a strong 51.05m throw.

Cassar was on the podium four times during these championships, claiming top spot in the hammer and shot put throws, second in the discus and third in the javelin.

Beppe Grillo took the title of Malta’s fastest man with the Pembroke youngster winning the 100m in a wind-assisted 10.52s, while Carla Scicluna took the women’s accolade in 11.94, a mere 0.07 of a second ahead of Charlotte Wingfield.

Scicluna completed a national double winning the 200m in 24.33s, a feat not repeated by Grillo, with Graham Pellegrini taking top spot in 21.44s.

It was indeed the latter who completed a double, winning the 400m race in 49.51s.

There were no surprises among the women with national record holder Janet Richard winning in 53.05s, a championship record.

On the longer distances, wins for Simon Spiteri and Lisa Bezzina (10000m) as well as Dillon Cassar and Joelle Cortis (5000m).

There were wins for Jeremy Zammit in the long jump and James Armani in the triple jump while Rebecca Sare won both events among the women, setting a championship record in the triple jump of 12.82m.

The season for Malta’s elite athletes is far from over with the next international commitments including the EAP International Meeting in Malta this coming weekend, as well as the World Championships and a number of high-profile youth events including EYOF and FISEC.

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