Ten foreign teams for international Marsa meet
Heartened by the success of last year's International Invitation Meeting and conscious of the need to prepare Maltese athletes better for the GSSE in Cyprus in June, Athletics Malta has decided to invest more in the annual meet and invited a number of teams to this year's competitions on April 18.
Athletics Malta president Tony Chircop told reporters this week that the response he received surpassed expectations.
"We shall have no fewer than 10 different teams and around 150 foreign athletes," he said.
"They will be coming from England, Scotland, Wales, Egypt, France, Finland, Italy and Switzerland. With more than four clubs bringing over 20 athletes or more, we are considering a team competition besides awarding a special prize for the best technical achievement."
Chircop said Athletics Malta had recently engaged two specialised coaches to assist in the preparation of the local athletics team. These are Mike McFarlane, in sprints, and Paul Wilson, in throws.
"Both will be in Malta with their teams for the international meeting and each one of them has again offered to continue to assist us with the preparation of our athletes," Chircop said.
This year's programme is expected to be more interesting, Athletics Malta said, as some of the teams will be participating in specialised disciplines only.
Wilson's team from Yorkshire is made up of shot, discus and javelin throwers only while McFarlane's team from Finland are focused on sprints.
The French team (under Sebastian Hoefs) have some very good 100m, 110m and 400m hurdlers and there is also a small contingent from the Thames Valley who excel in the longer hurdles event.
Athletics Malta will be holding a separate meeting for the younger performers (born in 1992, 1993 and 1994) on April 15.
Here, the entry field will be complimented with the participation of a group of around 10 Italians and another 11 coming from Ribble Valley (United Kingdom).