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Debono closes in on title after Qawra win

Bezzina makes it two in a row in women’s category

Charlton Debono (right) and Andrew Grech (no.577) lead the group in Qawra. Photo: Wally Galea

Charlton Debono (right) and Andrew Grech (no.577) lead the group in Qawra. Photo: Wally Galea

Charlton Debono, of Gozo Athletix, closed in on the MAAA Road Running League title by winning the Qawra 10 kilometre race on Sunday.

It was the Gozitan’s third win in a row, placing him as hot favourite to finish top in this season’s series.

His time of 32.29 at Qawra was a remarkable 90 seconds faster than last year’s, confirming his consistent improvement.

Having run only middle distance races on the track until only fairly recently, he is now clearly enjoying the road just as much.

“After the half marathon next month I’ll shift my focus back to the track, hoping to improve my times over 1,500m and 5,000m,” Debono said in post-race comments.

“One drawback I face is the lack of ideal facilities in Gozo. It would be better to practise at a proper full-size athletics track instead of having to do my sessions at the horse racing track in Ta’ Xħajma” he added.

Andrew Grech was a close second at Qawra. The Mellieħa AC runner, winner of the series last season, was 11 seconds behind Debono.

A further 11 seconds adrift was St Patrick’s Mario Grech, who after an 18-month break is gradually regaining his form and establishing himself among the top runners once again.

With the remaining two races in the series to be held over a flat course, all three contenders will be challenging each other for even faster times.

Meanwhile, Lisa Bezzina, of Pembroke Athleta, won the women’s race in Qawra.

She also showed a marked improvement over last year’s time in the same race, her 37.56 being one whole minute faster.

Now under Russian coach Ivan Rozhnov’s wings, Bezzina is clearly back in top form, having won the last two races in the series after finishing second in Siġġiewi.

Rita Galea, of Mellieħa AC, was the runner-up and 22 seconds behind Bezzina as Josann Attard Pulis (Starmax AC) ran home to third place.

The next race in the series – the Ta’ Qali 10k – is on January 24.

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