When the European Athletics Team Championships was last held in 2015, the Third League broke new ground as the competition was part of the first European Games in Baku.
Two years on, there will be as much excitement about the venue this June when Marsa in Malta plays host as the town’s name will be further embedded in the track and field world, 12 months on from staging the first Championships of the Small States of Europe.
Equally, it is a chance for Malta to take another big step in spreading the athletics word at home.
As Edwin Attard, the President of the country’s Amateur Athletic Association, said in an interview with European Athletics last March: “Since I have been President, we have been taking part in the European Team Championships with a full team. We have been trying to field athletes in those events where traditionally we have encountered problems, like pole vault, hurdles, high jump. We have managed to create this possibility for our athletes to branch out and specialise.”
On 24-25 June, 12 teams will gather in the south east region of Malta for a place in the second tier of the European Athletics Team Championships.
Slovakia were the champions in Baku, winning by the narrowest of margins, a mere half a point from Austria with Israel in third (430).
And though they missed out on promotion, Azerbaijan (387) had one of the stars of the whole weekend across all the leagues as distance runner Hayle Ibrahimov won three events – the 1500m (3:49.69), the 5000m (14:02.16) and the 3000m (7:54.14).
Malta were ninth (244.5) in 2015, and last summer, when Marsa staged the Championships of the Small States of Europe, Kevin Moore and Charlotte Wingfield ran well for them as they both finished third in their 100m and 200m races.
Now they have the chance of earning more points for their team in just over five months time - and at home once more.