In athletics it is not often that there is local mention about the pole vault. Indeed, albeit with the presence of a specialised coach for this discipline regaling the coaching structure of the club, youngsters willing to take up this sport are few and far between, perhaps not encouraged by parents witnessing their off-spring scaling the heights. Not so for Peppyna Dalli, the latest prodigy enthusing her coach Jivko Jetchev – and her father one hastens to add. Having had her fill of competitive exposure in gymnastics for the National Team, Peps was encouraged by one MOC director, Mr David Azzopardi, to seek service from Jetchev, who is gradually moulding her into a potential medal winner. 2017 may perhaps be her break-through year, for within the space of 8 days she bettered twice the national record for this event, with the height now to beat set at 3.40 metres.
As if these records weren’t enough, another of Jetchev’s athletes, namely Daniel Saliba, is laying seige to another discipline which is so lacking in popularity among locals. Within the same 8-day period Daniel twice broke the National Record for the 400m hurdles, his most recent lowering the time taken to complete the circuit to 55.90 seconds. Like Peppyna, Daniel is setting his sights on the summer events, with the GSSE followed by the European Championships proving to be the driving inspiration.
Had this been all to cheer about, Pembroke Athleta and local enthusiasts would have been rightly justified. But at the first of the Challenge series, another member upped the national Record on the field in yet another discipline. This was a Javellin throw of 45.16 metres set by Joanne Vella, a mark which has made her eligible for selection for the GSSE events to be held in San Marino between the 29 May and the 3 June.
Which also brings to mention the qualifying time reached by yet another athlete from the Pembroke fold, this time over the 10,000m distance, when last Saturday Lisa Marie Bezzina stopped the clock on 37minutes 7.34 seconds.