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Coe, Bubka for Malta meet

Leading officials from various European federations, including Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka, will be in Malta next month to attend the European Athletics Convention at the San Ġorġ Corinthia between October 11 and 13.

This is the second time the Malta Amateur Athletics Association are hosting the EAA convention after the smoothly-run assembly of 2007.

Anthony Chircop, MAAA president, told reporters yesterday that 250 delegates have already confirmed their participation in the three-day event, including EAA president Hansjong Wirz and IAAF vice-presidents Coe and Bubka.

“For a small association like ours it’s not easy to host such a high-profile meeting twice in the space of five years,” Chircop said.

“However, with only three weeks to go, preparations are at an advanced stage and we are confident everything will go according to our plans.”

The most anticipated item on the agenda will be the Calendar Meeting, scheduled for October 12. Member federations will decide on next year’s international programme, including indoor and outdoor meetings and the cross-country championships.

The EAA convention will also feature a series of working groups such as the athletes’ commission, the Euro Meetings general assembly and meetings involving officials from the Balkans Athletics Association, Nordic countries, head coaches and the association of the Small States of Europe.

Chircop said the European association will again emphasise the importance of attracting more youngsters to the sport.

“European Athletics has, for the last couple of years, been studying ways and means to make the sport of athletics more popular among the younger generation, in particular,” Chircop said.

“In Malta, the EAA will continue its campaign of encouraging member federations to promote mass participation events, such as long-distance running, fun runs and walking as they step up their awareness of health and fitness.”

Another highlight during the Malta convention will be the announcement of the European Athletes of the Year in both the men and women’s category and the Rising Star for 2012.

This will be made by president Wirz during a presentation ceremony which will be held at the Manoel Theatre in Valletta on October 13.

Among the contenders in the Athletes of the Year category are British Olympic champions Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis, French sprinter Christope Lemaitre and Italian triple jumper Fabrizio Donato.

Also present for yesterday’s news conference in St Julian’s was Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport Clyde Puli. He hailed the MAAA’s determination in organising such a prestigious meeting on our shores for a second time.

“The government is always behind sporting organisations like the MAAA as they embark on initiatives of this kind on a regular basis and promote Malta as an ideal venue for sporting activities,” Puli said.

“We want others to follow suit and benefit from incentives provided by the government in sports tourism.

“Having a prestigious meeting such as the European Athletics Convention here adds further prestige to the country’s image in the sporting world.”

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