Archives

0

Balzan Ikompli Jiddomina l-Birzebbugia 10K

Unknown Monday, August 1, 2011 , ,
Jonathan Balzan u  Marisa Muscat zguraw li kienet se tkun gurnata felici ghas-St. Patrick's AC hekk kif huma rebhu s-sezzjonijiet maskili u femminili rispettivament fit-tellieqa ta’ 10 kilometri li l-istess klabb jorganizza gewwa Birzebbugia.

Balzan beda t-tellieqa bhala l-favorit specjalment ghaliex huwa kien ghadu kif kiser l-ahjar hin personali tieghu fuq id-distanza ta’ 5 kilometri matul il-European League Championships Third League li saru gewwa l-Izlanda, u huwa ggustifika l-aspetattivi hekk kif dahal fl-ewwel post b’certu facilita f’dik li kienet is-seba’ rebha personali tieghu matul din it-tellieqa tas-sajf.

Inevitabilment, huwa kien ferhan hafna b’dan ir-rizultat.  “Li tirbha tellieqa diga huwa rizultat kbir, li tirbaha ghal numru rekord u tkun taf li r-rekord ta’ l-ahjar hin fuq ir-rotta huwa tieghek huwa sahansitra ahjar u nevitabilment jaghmlu din wahda mit-tlielaq favoriti tieghi.  Il-mertu ta’ dan imur ukoll ghand il-kowc Roger Zammit li jaghmel hafna xoghol mieghi.”

Rigward it-tellieqa nnifixa, huwa kkonferma li t-taqtiha dejjem kienet bejnu u bejn Jason martin.  "Jason u jien bdejna flimkien, relattivament veloci qabel ma’ t-telghat li hemm f’din ir-rotta bdew ihallu l-marka taghhom. Wara r-raba kilometre hrigt ftit u meta rajt li mhux qed jirrispondi zidt il-pass.”

"Ir-rizultat mhux l-ahjar tieghi fuq din ir-rotta.  Imma rebha hija rebha u ridt naghlaq l-istagun fuq nota oghlja wara l-personal best fil-5000  metru li ghamilt fl-Izlanda.  Stajt forsi mbuttajt lili nnifsi imma t-tahrig kien iffukat fuq il-5 kilometri u dan hareg matul it-tellieqa.  Minkejja kollox, ir-rekord ta’ din it-tellieqa ghadu teighi u r-rotta hija mimlija gholjiet. "

L-atleta tal-Mellieha AC Jason Martin spicca t-tellieqa f’hin ta’ 35:10 li kien bizzejjed biex jeghleb lil Aaron Mifsud ta’ Pembroke Athleta.

Ta’ 32 sena, Mifsud huwa wiehed mil l-izghar fost dawk l-atleti li spiccaw min ta’ quddiem.  "Ili nigri sa min meta kont student gewwa De la Salle,” huwa qal wara t-tellieqa.  “Dak iz-zmien kont wiehed mil l-ahjar atleti fl-eta’ tieghi. Pero’ mbaghad waqaft kompletament ghal hmistax-il sena.  Bdejt nigri b’certu serjeta biss f’Gunju  ta’ din is-sena.  Immedjatament dan kellu mpatt fuq il-prestazzjonijiet u r-rizultati li qed nikseb.  Qed nitharreg taht il-kowc Drew Lan u dan kien fattur importanti ghaliex nissell fija certu dixxiplina u determinazzjoni li qabel ma’ kellix.”

"F’perjodu ta’ sitt gimghat irnexxieli ntejjeb il-hinijiet tieghi fil-hames kilometri u l-ghaxar kilometri b’iktar min minuta kull wiehed.  Tahrig tajjeb jaghtik ir-rizultati lit kun trid.  Huwa veru li relattivament jien zghir, imma kien jghin hafna li kieku bdejt nitharreg b’dan il-mod iktar kmieni. "

It-tahrig li qed jaghmel, pero’, qed ihalli l-frott tieghu b’sensiela ta’ rizultati tajbin.  “Definitivament, jien kuntent hafna bir-rizultat.  Apparti li rnexieli nigi ma’ l-ewwel tlieta, tejjibt il-hin tieghi fuq id-distanza ta’ ghaxar kilometri b’iktar min tletin sekonda ghat-tieni darba f’xhar.  U r-rotta tal-Birzebbugia 10k certament li mhux fost il-facli.  Pero’ grazzi ghal l-intensita tat-tahrig tieghi, kont kunfidenti f’rizultat tajjeb.”

Ghal Marisa Muscat, ir-rebha taghha fis-sezzjoni tan-nisa qatt ma kienet f’dubju hekk kif hi ghamlet ir-rotta f’hin ta’ 43:28, iktar min sitt minuti qabel it-tieni atleta, Sarah Meli.  Caroline Ciappara ta’ Mellieha AC dahlet fit-tielet post.

It-tellieqa ta’ din is-sena kienu sponsorjati mill-Malta International Challenge Marathon, Hilly Clothing, Nestle Fitness, Ronhill, Ray Sun products, The Fitness Corner u Isostar.

Rizultati tal-Hilly Clothing Birzebbugia 10K
Rgiel
Jonathan Balzan (St. Patrick's AC) 33:42
Jason Martin (Mellieha AC) 35:10
Aaron Mifsud (Pembroke Athleta) 35:42
Matthew Cutajar (St. Patrick's AC) 36:46
Antoine Abela (St. Patrick's AC) 36:47

Nisa
Marisa Muscat (St. Patrick's AC) 43:28
Sarah Meli (Not Attached) 49:55
Caroline Ciappare (Mellieha AC) 51:34
Clare Mifsud (Ladies Running Club) 52:09
Annalise Pullicino (St Patrick's AC) 52:42

Article originally appeared on IL-GENSillum of the 23rd July 2011
0

Double for Saints as Balzan, Muscat win Birżebbuġa 10K


Jonathan Balzan and Marisa Muscat made it a happy day for St Patrick’s AC as they won the male and female categories respectively of the club’s own 10K race in Birżebbuġa, held recently.
Balzan started the race as favourite, moreso after setting a new personal best over the 5,000m distance at the European League Championships Third League.
He justified such billing with a rather comfortable win (33.42), the seventh in this summer race over the course of his remarkable career.
Inevitably, he was overjoyed at this result.
“Winning a race is already an achievement, winning it for a record time and knowing I still hold the course record makes it even better and one of my favourite races. I want to thank my coach Roger Zammit who certainly deserves a special mention,” Balzan said.
As for the race itself, he confirmed that it was a duel between himself and Jason Martin.
“Jason and I started together, quite fast, but then the hill started to take its toll. After the fourth kilometre I pulled away and felt he was not responding so I increased the pace.”
Mellieħa AC’s Martin finished the race in 35:10, just enough to edge out Pembroke Athleta’s Aaron Mifsud.
At 32, Mifsud was one the youngest runners among the leading runners.
“I have been running since I was a student at De La Salle,” he said after the race.
“I was one of the top athletes in my age group at the time. However, I was out of action for most of the past 15 years. I only started to train seriously since mid-June of this year.
“This had an immediate positive impact on my performances and my results.
“I am training under the guidance of Drew Lang, and this was an important factor to instil a sense of discipline and commitment that I previously lacked.”
As for Muscat, her victory in the women’s race was never in doubt as she ran home in 43:28, more than six minutes ahead of the second-placed Sarah Meli.
Caroline Ciappara, of Mellieħa AC, came third.
This year’s races were sponsored by the Malta International Challenge Marathon, Hilly Clothing, Nestle Fitness, Ronhill, Ray Sun products, The Fitness Corner and Isostar.
Results
Men: 1. Jonathan Balzan 33:42; 2. Jason Martin 35:10; 3. Aaron Mifsud 35:42; 4. Matthew Cutajar 36:46; 5. Antoine Abela 36:47.
Women: 1. Marisa Muscat 43:28; 2. Sarah Meli 49:55; 3. Caroline Ciappara 51:34; 4. Clare Mifsud 52:09; 5. Annalise Pullicino 52:42.
Article originally appeared on the Times of Malta of Thursday, 28th July 2011.
0

Tkompli t-Tradizzjoni fl-Ghawm

Kif forsi tistenna min pajjiz li huwa cirkondat mill-bahar, f'Malta min dejjem kien hawn tradizzjoni ta' ghawwiema kapaci jkopru distanzi twal. Dak ta' Turu Rizzo huwa forsi l-iktar isem leggendarju. Matul il-karriera tieghu huwa ghal erba' darbiet kiser ir-rekord ta' kemm kapaci ddum fl-ilma (68 siegha) filwaqt li pprova li jsir l-ewwel persuna li jghum bejn Malta u Sqallija, haga li kien kwazi irnexxielu jaghmel li ma' kienx ghal maltempata feroci li waqfitu 3 mili l-bod mix-xatt Taljan.

Dan ir-rekord eventwalment inkiser min Nicky Farrugia, atleta iehor li kien dedikat lejn dawn it-tip ta' tlielaq filwaqt li xi snin wara hareg ukoll Albert Rizzo (in-neputi ta' Turu) li wkoll kiser xi rekords ta' nannuh, specifikatament dawk l-iktar bniedem li dam jghum. Fl-ahhar qari, ir-rekord ta' l-izghar Rizzo kien jaqra 132 siegha fil-bahar.

Ma din il-lista ta' atleti fenomenali issa jista' jinghaqad Keith Bartolo li iktar kmieni din is-sena kien ma' grupp ta' atleti li flimkien kisru r-rekord tad-dinja ta' distanza li ghawmu.

Ghal Bartolo dan kien l-iktar pass ricenti f'karriera sportiva twila.

"Qabel kont nilghab il-futbol u naghmel it-triathlon," huwa qal f'intervista mal-GENS. "F'dawn l-ahhar disa snin bdejt naghmel l-open water swimming. Min dejjem hassejtni komdu naghmel distanzi twal u ghal dawn l-ahhar hames snin hadt sehem f'kompetizzjonijiet gewwa l-Awstralja, l-Italja u b'mod partikolari l-Ingilterra ghax hemm hija l-mecca ta' l-open water swimming."

"Il-mira tieghi hija li sentejn ohra se nipprova nghum l-English Channel. Hemmhekk hemm certu kesha u huwa ghalhekk li qed niehu sehem kemm jista' jkun fi tlielaq hemm. Inutli mmur l-Italja fejn il-bahar huwa bhal hawn. Ma tridx tinsa li l-English Channel fis-sajf huwa bhal bahar taghna fix-xitwa. Ghalhekk trid titrenja f'dik il-kesha."

Kien matul wahda min dawn it-tlielaq li nibtet il- possibilta' li jiehu sehem fir-rekord. "Ghamilt l-itwal tlett tlielaq fl-Ingilterra (mhux ir-Renju Unit) fejn dejjem gejt ma l-ewwel sebgha jew tmienja. Meta nkun hemm dejjem naghmel il-kuntatti."

"Kien hemm li ltqajt ma' Dee Llewelynn li hija eks-memru tat-tim nazzjonali iNgliz fuq dawn id-distanzi Hija giet Malta biex titrenja imma qattt ma' qaltli xejn dwar ir-rekord. Imma mbghad x'hin telghu lura l-Ingilterrra ddecidew li jistiednuni nighaqad magghom. Kien hemm membru fit-tim li minhabba ragunijiet ta' xoghol u familja ma' setghax jiddedika daqshekk hin ghal din l-isfida u ghalhekk ghazlu li jistiednu lili biex nehodlu postu."

L-ghan taghhom kien dak li jghelbu r-rekord imaqqaf min group ta' ghawwiema profesjonisti Amerikani u Messikani gewwa Lake Powell.Bid-differenza li dan riedu jaghmluh gewwa pajjizhom stess.

Ghalhekk l-ghazla weqhet fuq Lake Windermere, ghazla li kkomplikatilhom hajjithom. "Il-grupp ta' atleti Amerikani ghamlu r-rekord taghhom gewwa Lake Michigan fejn it-temperatura hija simili ghal dik ta' Malta filwaqt li gewwa Windermere it-Temperatura kienet fer, iktar iesha. Sfortunatament, il-judges tal-FINA jiddeciedu kollox fuq id-distanza li jkunu koprew u mhux fuq il-kundizjonijiet li ahna nkunu qed nghumu fihom."

U l-kundizzjonijiet li kienu qeghdin fihom kienu difficli. "B'Kollox konnha grupp ta' sitta," qal Keith hekk kif huwa beda jiftakar dwar ir-rekord innifsu. "Ghamilna tmenin sieghu nghixu fuq daghjsa fejn kull wiehed kien jghum sieghu u mbaghad jaghmel hamsa nistrieh. Jien b'kollox ghomejt tlettax-il darba u ghamilt bejn l-erbghin u l-hamsa u erbghin kilometru.”

“ Konnha tlieta li ghamilna hekk filwaqt li t-tlieta l-ohra ghamlu distanzi iqsar. Huma kienu iktar slow minnha imma kellhom karatteristici ohra."

"Meta tkun qed tipprova tikser rekord bhal dan irid ikollok grupp ta' atleti bilancjat."

“B’kollox kien hemm crew ta' 25. Inti jkollok roster ta’ judges halli daw ikunu jistgh jikkontrollaw li dak kollu li jkun qed jigri halli jkunu jistghu jikkonfermaw li ghamilna kolllox kif suppost. Kellna min isajrilna. kellna kayaks, dinghy. It-team kollu kien importanti.”

“L-iktar haga difficli kienet il-kesha b’mod partikolari l-Hadd meta kellna maltempata kerha. Lanqas id-dghajsa l-kbira ma' setghet toqghod maghna. Bdejna nibzghu li tigi xi mewga li titfa d-dghajsa fuq min ikun qieghed jghum. Ghalhekk kellna noqghodu fuq id-dinghy.”

“Dak mument kien l-iktar wiehed difficli,” huwa kompla “Il-kesha u l-ghajja tibda taghmel bik u l-ammont ta' energija li tahli f’dawk il-mumenti hija hafna.”

Ipattu ghal dawn il-mumenti diffcli hemm dawk zbiegh. Konnha hemm l-koll f’daqqa u dak ghamel is-success taghna iktar sabih. Il-komunita kollha ta’ l-Open Water Swimming kienet qeghda thares lejna. Min ikun intiz fl-isport taghna jkun kemm hija iebsa l-Lawk Windermere. Huma jistghu japrezzaw dak li ghamilna.”

“Issa f'Ottubru rridu nitilghu l-Ingilterra halli nkunu nistghu nkunu presentati b’certifikat ta’ konferma.”

Barra s-successi individwali, Keith qed jara li bhala sport dak ta’ l-open water swimming “qed jikber. Pero’ irridu ngharfu li ghadu fl-istadji inizjalli tieghu. Birkirkara St Joseph qeghdin naqra attenti x'tip ta' tlielaq jorganizzaw halli ma jnaffrux il-dawk li jkunu urew l-interess.”

“Jaghmlu league ta' xi hames 2km races u jaghmlu wahda ta' 4km u min igib l-inqas hin jirhab it-titlu ta' . Biex tattira l-massa trid taghmel tlielaq. L-ahhar tellieqa kellna l-fuq min 100 kompetitur, inkluz tfal li ghandhom min 14-il sena l-fuq. Trid tiftkar li dan mhux xi sport li jiswa hafna flus.”

“L-uniku tellieqa li jorganizzaw ta’ certu tul hija dik bejn l-Gozo Malta li se ssir fl-20 t’Awwissu. Wara kollox ma tantx hawn min jghum id-distanzi li nghum jien.”

“Pero’ Birkirkara St Joshep qed jahdmu biex jigbdu n-nies u jtuhom l-opportunita’ li jippruvawh.”

Ghalih hemm ukoll miri godda. “Qieghed fl-ahhar xhar ta' preparamenti biex naghmel Lake Zurich. Li naghmel hu li kull sena nara liema huma l-ahjar ghaxar tlielaq halli nkun qed nipprepara ghal wahda mil l-aqwa li hawn.”

“Li trid tiftakar hu li dan trid taghmel 26 kilometru fl-ilma helu u ghalina huwa difficli biex tipprepara ghalih ghliex f’Malta m’ghandniex postijiet simili. Il-mira hi li s-sena ddiehla naghmel ukkoll il-Jersey to Frnce. Eventwalment il-mira tieghi hija dik li naqsam ic-Chanel Ingliz.”

Kollox bl-ghajnuna ta’ dawk ta’ madwaru. “Dan it-tip ta' sport jekk ma jkollokx is-support tal-mara, genituri u extended family ma' taghmel xejn,” huwa jikkonkludi. “Is-sagrificcju li taghmel il-mara, b’mod partikolari, huwa kbir. Jekk tkun taf li l-mara qed tgereger mohhok ma jkunx hemm. Huwa mpossibli taghti l-massimu tieghek f’dak il-kaz.”


Dan l-artiklu deher originarjament fuq IL-GENSillum.
0

The Twohundredpercent Premier League Previews

When Paul Konchesky was sold to join Leicester, one of the strangest and most distressful periods of the last two decades in Liverpool's history came to a close.  Seen as the emodyment of the mediocrity that had somehow become the norm at the club, Konchesky's departure seen as confirmation that the standards that had been allowed to drop were now being pushed upwards again.

For all the criticism that was directed his way - a lot of which, let's be clear, was deserved - the dignity that the player himself displayed was laudable.  He was man enought to admit that he hadn't been good enough when Liverpool lost to a last minute goal at Tottenham, never reacted to the criticism (something that, sadly, his mother failed to emulate) and agreed to go down a division rather than stick around in Liverpool's reserves.

Yet, likeable and honourable as he was, it is undeniable that Konchesky just wasn't a good enough player for Liverpool.  Much like the man who had brought him there.

The basis that apparently underpinned Hodgson's appointment - the nonsensical perceived need to go for an English manager - made him the best person for the job.  Which is rather different than saying that he was the right man.  Despite some exceptional achievements - taking Switzerland to the World Cup and leading Fulham to the Europa League final in particular - there was little in a career of over four decades that indicated that he was good enough.  His successes in Nordic countries were achieved thanks to the exploitation of those country's lack of tactical development whilst his time at Inter was seen significantly less favourably in Italy than it was in England.  Most worrying was his failure at Blackburn, a club that where he wasted a fortune and set on their way to relegation.

And that seemed to be Liverpool's fate with him.  Hodgson can point to a number of justifiable alibis for his failure: owners who were bleeding the club dry, players who wanted to leave and a botched transfer policy where the Managing Director seemed to have as much say (if not more) than the manager.  Yet he was the man who set out his teams to play defensively at home, who deferred to Alex Ferguson when he criticised Torres, who considered anything more than a point away from home as 'a bonus' and who judged a defeat at Everton - when Liverpool were played off the park - as the best game his team had played.

As his team's performances worsened and he became more defensive, Hodgson came out with a famous remark that whoever replaced him couldn't do a better job and that there wasn't a magic wand.

Only that it turned out that there was.  Using largely the same squad, Kenny Dalglish managed to revive the club's fortunes and produce some excellent football along the way.  On his side he had not only the fans - who rightly rever the man - but also the club's new owners who.  .Still to take the club from depressing talking of possible relegation to the verge of European qualification whilst trashing both Manchester sides and ruining Fernando Torres' Chelsea debut was nothing sort of exceptional.

Inevitably, Dalglish was given the job and now it could get tricky.  Last season there was very little to lose and, consequently, little pressure.  That will change this time round especially after having spent some £43 million on three players this summer where a top four spot will be the minimal target for the club.

There is also a degree of skepticsm over the players on whom that money has been spent.  Already, there was a degree of perplexity at the £35 million that Liverpool spent on Andy Carroll last January, especially given his off the pitch problems, but John W. Henry had already explained that as being down to Chelsea's late bid to sign Fernando Torres.  Yet Liverpool have apparently paid excessively for Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing which puts both players in the firing line for criticism should either one of them fail to settle in immediately.

The amounts spent on those players has somewhat ridiculed the notion that Liverpool would going predominantly for players who representd good value for money; that they would be adopting what has lazily been tagged as the Moneyball approach.  Yet, whilst it has been quoted often enough, little is yet understood about how this works.  Sure enough, not overpaying for a player is a tenent but so is paying what is needed to fill the gaps, which is what Liverpool have done with the left-footed Downing.  Equally it isn't incidental that all of these players are British, something that ensures that Liverpool will recover a good part of the fees paid should any one of these fail to live up to the hype.  And that too is a 'Moneyball' consideration.

What is more interesting than the money paid is how Dalglish decides to line up his players.  With so many central midfielders available - excluding the departing Alberto Aquilani and the immobile Cristian Poulsen, Liverpool have five who can justifiably expect to play fairly regularly - it seems improbable that they will adopt the 4-4-2 that he has traditionally employed.  Much more likely is the 4-2-3-1 that mirrors they system that Liverpool began adopting at an academy level for the past two years and which Dalglish knows fully well due to his involvement in the academy before he got his promotion.

This system should allow him to play Lucas alongside Charlie Adam in a withdrawn midfield position with the first primarily looking to defend and the other to create.  It would also see Downing, Gerrard and Suarez working behind Carroll who will be the focus of attack.  With Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Jordan Henderson and Jay Spearing also available, Dalgish seems to have built a midfield where every player has an alternative.

If this is truly is the system to be adopted, then it will be an interesting experiment to watch.  Even if it isn't, Dalglish has ability to innovate tactically to mould the team into playing as he wants it, something that he showed at times last year when Liverpool switched to three players at the back to deal with certain teams.

Part of that innovation could be down to Stuart Clarke.  Ever since he joined Dalglish last January, the profile of Mourinho's former assistant has been steadily growing as has his influence.  There's nothing to indicate that he had anything to do with the removal of Sammy Lee from first team coach but it is telling that the man chosen to replace him was Kevin Keen, someone who Clarke clearly recommended having played and worked with him at West Ham.  With another of Mourinho's former aides now in charge at Chelsea, it could be that Clarke is working his way into eventually being given the job at Anfield.

That, however, is something that at the moment seems to lie far ahead in the future.  And, after a bleak couple of years, Liverpool's future does indeed seem bright.  Not least because the academy - which Rafa Benitez revolutionised in what could turn out to be his most important act as Liverpool manager - is suddenly churning out a number of talents.  There were six Liverpool players in the England squad that took on the U17 World Cup in Mexico (plus another - Tom King - in the Australian team) and seven were called up for England's U19 European Championship squad.  More importantly, Dalglish has show faith in Martin Kelly, John Flanagan, Jack Robinson and Jay Spearing with each one showing that they deserve it.

All of these positives raise expectations but, even so, going from sixth to fourth will require a significant effort.  Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City should take three spots meaning that there's one available for Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.  Even if Dalglish does manage to get the players that consolidate a defence which is lacking a left back and needs a commanding central defender, there still seems to be a work in progress feel about a squad that lacks the depth of quality of others.

What could favour Liverpool is the absence of European football - that's assuming that Tottenham pay any attention to the Europa League - whilst the Premiership experience of all of their major additions is another plus point.

Publicly, Dalglish has been very cautious not to put pressure on his players by setting any targets but this is not to mean that others won't do so for him.  Nor should it be read that he himself is lowering the standards because Dalglish knows more than anyone that the fans are acheing for a league title and that is what, ultimately, he will be working towards.  Not this season, though.


This article originally appeared on 200%
 
Copyright 2010 Paul Grech: Writer