Malta is ready for the European Athletics Championships Third League

Full programme of athletics competition will welcome over 300 foreign athletes in Marsa this weekend.

21 June 2017, 10:16pm
The press conference was held this afternoon at the MAAA
The press conference was held this afternoon at the MAAA
Final preparations are underway as Malta is getting ready to host the European Athletics Championships Third League between the 24th and 25th June.  Details were announced during a press conference held this afternoon at the Malta Amateur Athletics Association (MAAA) Head Quarters in the presence of the Hon. Dr. Clifton Grima, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport, athletes and officials.

MAAA President Mr. Edwin Attard announced that approximately 300 foreign athletes and officials will be in Malta for this competition. This will be the fourth European Athletics event to be hosted in Malta. Previously, Malta hosted the European Throwing Challenge in 2004, the European Athletics Championships Third League in 2010 and the Championships of the Small States of Europe in 2016.

This year’s Championships will host the AASSE (Liechtenstein, San Marino and Gibraltar), Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Luxembourg, Malta and Montenegro.  Team scores are calculated by combining the men’s and women’s points and the top two teams in the Third League will win promotion to the Second League.

Malta’s top athletes will all be present for these Games. Charlotte Wingfield, fresh from her successes in San Marino will be aiming for victory in both the 100m and 200m. Other GSSE medal winners Rebecca Sare and Ian Paul Grech and the 4x100m Relay Team will all be aiming to achieve honourable placings. The Maltese Team is expected to field a total of about 40 athletes and will be eying the final classification with interest even though countries such as Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Georgia will probably be battling for promotion.

The throws could take pride of place with the men’s shot put featuring a duel between Bosnia’s 2013 European indoor silver medallist Hamza Alic, who reached a personal best of 20.82m earlier this month, and another 20-metre plus performer in the shape of Luxembourg’s 2015 European U23 silver medallist Bob Bertemes. Azerbaijan’s 2016 European Championships bronze medallist Hanna Skydan will be in action in the women’s hammer.

Although the concentration of talent in the Third League will probably be in the field events, one track athlete whose might catch the eye is Luxembourg’s 800m runner Charline Mathias, a 2:01.30 who wore her small county’s colours at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“As this is a European Athletics Competition, the conduct of this event will be under the scrutiny of European Athletics who will be sending no less than seven officiating persons for this event in addition to a Projects Manager and a European Athletics Council member. In addition, the photo-finish and false start will be managed by the Austrian company ALGE Timing, the long throws will be measured by personnel using electronic equipment provided by the Works Department, while thanks to GO plc, a livestream of the event will also be set up. In addition, there will be a large number of local technical officials and volunteers without whom the event will be impossible” explained Edwin Attard, President of the Malta Amateur Athletics Association.

The Hon. Dr. Clifton Grima, Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport also addressed those present. Dr. Grima stressed the importance of these events, which not only give local athletes the opportunity to compete amongst international athletes but also contribute to sports tourism since these events also contribute to the islands’ economy. Dr. Grima continued to emphasize the importance that the Ministry and SportMalta has given and will continue to  give towards such initiatives.

“The opportunity to host international competitions puts Malta into the spotlight of the international governing bodies, European Athletics and IAAF. Their help and financial assistance enables the Malta Amateur Athletics Association to invest more  into facilities and equipment for the enhancement of athletics in Malta” continued to explain Romain Schwaiger, MAAA Secretary General

“Once again, the assistance of European Athletics for Malta’s event enabled the Assocation to invest in new equipment which was badly needed.  This investment will give an immediate return and benefit to Maltese athletes, as these assets are used for local competitions.”

The MAAA would finally like to take this opportunity to thank the Maltese Olympic Committee and Sport Malta for their continued support as well as its main sponsors GO plc, General Soft Drinks and Mapfre Middlesea.

Detailed information about this weekend’s timetable can be found on www.malta2017.org.