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Fantastic two weeks for Maltese Sprinter

For Charlene Attard, it has been a fantastic two weeks.  Aided by the IAAF, the young Maltese sprinter has been able to sample what it feels like to be a professional athlete by preparing for the World Indoor Championships through a training camp being held in Moscow.

It is an opportunity that few Maltese have ever been able to benefit from.  With no indoor tracks on the island – there is very little need for them given the country’s mild weather – local athletes have to go abroad if they want to really get to grips with running on such a track.

For Attard, the results are already showing as she broke the Maltese 60m dash record in the EAA Junior Permit meeting held in Moscow towards the end of February.  Her time of 7.77 seconds eclipsed that of 7.96 seconds set by Therese Mallia at last year’s European Indoor Championships held in Madrid.

Boosted by her preparation and familiarity with the surroundings, it is a record that Attard will be looking to improve when she gets to compete in her heat during the Championships.

For athletes hailing from a county like Malta, national records will always be the maximum of their expectations from such events.  That is the case for Attard and it will also be the case for Malta’s male representative at the Championships, Darren Gilford.

“This season I was planning to reach the indoor qualifying standard,” he said. “But there were a number of drawbacks - the lack of an indoor track, lack of competitions abroad, bad weather conditions in Malta and other factors - that unfortunately this was not possible.”

Paul Grech for the IAAF