Track athletics resumed in Marsa this weekend as Rush AC held its third annual meeting attracting over 260 athletes of different ages from several Maltese clubs and schools, battled adverse weather to produce some encouraging performances despite the early phase of the season.
Graham Pellegrini (Pembroke Ath) confirmed his strength on the short distances, winning both 60m and 300m despite facing a challenging headwind in the process. In the shorter distance, he claimed top spot with a 7.07s time, edging teammate Luke Bezzina who was just a hundredth of a second behind (7.08s). On the 300m, he was pushed on till the very end by Omar El Aida Chaffey (Zurrieq W) with the former claiming top spot in 35.15s. On the same distance, Under 16 athlete Nick Bonnet produced two strong performances to complete a double on these distances.
Rush AC’s Thea Parnis Coleiro commenced the year just as she had finished her last, winning in style the 60m and 300m races. In the shorter sprint, the 15-year-old edged out her more experienced opponents and was the only female athlete to dip below 8 seconds on this distance, with a 7.98s timing achieved despite the tough headwind. On the 300m distance, she emerged victorious in 42.07s, after a pulsating duel with Pembroke’s Josepha Micallef (42.26s).
On the 600m distance, Isaac Bonnici (Rush AC) dominated proceedings, winning in 1.24.16.
The longest race of the meeting was over the 3000m distance, with La Salle’s Thomas Grech (9.47.57) taking top spot ahead of young Isaac Scicluna, who still competes in the Under 16 category, who took second spot in a very solid 9.50.20.
In the throws, Kareem Chouhal (Rush AC) took the spotlight with a noteworthy throw in the hammer (49.01m). Other winners included Bianca Shoemake winning the female hammer category with 45.42m, Sana Grillo (Pembroke) winning the pole vault win with a 3.30m jump, while Luke Farrugia (Rush) won the discus (47.05m)
The long jump proved to be a popular attraction during this meeting with some 29 athletes facing each other on two runways, with Jamie Azzopardi (Pembroke A) and Leah Frendo (Rush AC) taking top spot with jumps of 4.29m and 4.27m. For Frendo, it was a double, having also achieved the fastest time in the category (48.09s) in the 300m race.
Race Director Antonella Chouhal commented: “We are very encouraged to see over 260 athletes of all ages joining us on track despite the cold, windy and wet weather. This presence, and even the results achieved in these conditions reflect the growing interest and level of this sport on our island. As Rush AC, we will continue to invest in our younger athletes, giving them the necessary resources to continue to grow and develop their abilities in sport, their character as well as their personalities”.