Like any other nascent year, 2019 started off with promise. In the wake of a new, pristine, track surface; and a year when Malta’s finest will once again wear national colours in the Games for the Small States of Europe; international competitions expanded to include wider – and younger – categories; competitions at diverse aspects of athletics.
The leading athletics’ club in Malta, Pembroke Athleta, as always to the forefront, has embarked on one such new initiative, meant to benefit not only its members, but one intended to complement the progress of Maltese athletics in general. This by joining the European Athletics Promotion (EAP) circuit.
The circuit opened with the Kuldiga (Latvia) indoor event where seven athletes from the club competed last week-end, acquiring excellent results, admirably setting marks that cannot be recorded by Maltese athletes especially in the absence of local facilities. One such success in Latvia awaiting national ratification was that set by Maltese hurdler Daniel Saliba. This Pembroke athlete has been making a very good name for himself, setting National marks outdoors in both the 100 and 400m hurdling. In Latvia, Daniel, just 23 years of age, sailed over the obstacles in the 60m event in a time of 8.53 seconds, an excellent time considering also that these opportunities are few and far between. Also notable in no small measure was the long jump leap of up-and-coming Rachela Pace. This youngster, still in the youth category, followed up her fine performance at the London Indoor Games, where she placed second, with another leap measuring 5.47 metres.
At those Games in London, under the initiative of Club Coach Angie Mangion, a 15-member strong team showed off the Club’s talent among the youngsters, where Shardon Cassar went one better than Rachela, winning his Under 17 event with a jump of 5.98 metres, with Graham Pellegrini managing second place in the High Jump. Among the others, where personal bests were the order of the day, Kay Testa and Benji Buhagiar finished fourth in the long jump, with Nathan Saliba doing likewise in the 800m, all these youngsters being under 15 years of age.
It is to be noted that the obligations attached to the club’s membership to the EAP requires that an international athletics meeting will be held in Malta. This with the help of the MAAA, the Maltese Sports authorities and other entities, will potentially welcome to Malta a number of athletes on the 4th May, in a time when Maltese athletes will be hitting their peak for the GSSE which follow shortly.
Pembroke Team at EAP Kuldiga
Pembroke Team at London Indoor Games U/15 U/17