Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Malta Amateur Athletic Association was again invited to participate in this third edition in Brno, the Czech Republic, hosting over 700 athletes ranging from 11 to 15 years of age. Now established as an international event the organization managed to attract teams from the three Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as teams from Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia, besides that from Malta. Moreover, most athletics teams from the host country and the neighbouring Slovak Republic were also well represented.
All athletes competed in their particular year of birth, except that in the relays the older athletes born in 1993 and 1994 could be fielded in mixed age foursomes. In the previous two editions, Youth Athletics Malta had managed 16 medals in all but in this competition the Maltese contingent was limited to ten athletes, six boys and four girls, namely Jeremy Borg, Robert Zammit and Ian Paul Grech, all born in 1993, and Christian Luke Chetcuti, Daniel Vella and Clayton Sheldon born in 1994.
The elder girls were Tamara Vella and Jana Pace Cocks with those born in 1994 being Daniela Gauci Borda and Nadine Aquilina. The two-day event, held in cold and often windy conditions, rather unfamiliar for our representatives, nevertheless did not deter them from collecting another bagful of medals, six in all, five individual and one in the relays.
Undoubtedly, the hero of the Malta side was Christian Luke Chetcuti, who emerged first in the 1500m in a good time of 4 minutes and 31.21 seconds and who was eventually declared as posting the ‘Best Technical Performance’. This earned him an extra prize – a helicopter ride over the capital of Moravia.
Nadine Aquilina managed second place in the shot putt by hurling the implement a distance of 10.37 metres. In the same age category for the boys, Daniel Vella had the satisfaction of making third place his own by managing a best throw of 11.68 metres. Jeremy Borg and Tamara Vella, both finished third in their respective Long Jump events to garner the other individual medals. Christian Luke also competed in the 300m to finish fifth while Tamara made it to the B final in the 60m in which she finished second.
The other athletes fared well enough to finish very close to the podium. In fact, Clayton Sheldon made it to the Final of the 60m sprint, only to miss his target by finishing fourth in a new Personal Best of 7.60seconds and fifth in the Long Jump clearing 5.39 metres for another P.B. In the 300m longer sprint, Clayton managed the eighth berth. In other events, Jana Pace Cocks competed in the 60m B Final and came in third, sixth in the Long Jump and fifth in the 300m while Robert Zammit came in fifth in his 1500metres.
Daniela Gauci Borda competed in the 60 and the 30 metres placing satisfactorily, as did Ian Paul Grech in his 60m and in the Long Jump, in which he made it to fifth place with a jump of 4 cm over 6metres. The climax of the second day was, by tradition the relays, and the boys with high hopes of finishing on the podium, did just that, getting the baton over the line in a time of 29.02 seconds. The team was made up of Ian Paul Grech, Jeremy Borg, Christian Luke Chetcuti and Clayton Sheldon.
The visit of the team, under the watchful eyes of Council Member and Coach Mr Mario Micallef, and Ms Mary Rose Herd, a qualified Athletics’ official, was made possible through the assistance of the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport and that of Malta’s national airline Air Malta.