History was made in Malta on Saturday with the staging of the first Championships of the Small States of Europe.
The southern region of Marsa welcomed 18 European Athletics Member Federations for a competition of 22 events.
And it was Moldova who came out on top with 125.5 points as they competed against teams from the host nation, along with Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino.
A competition that has been discussed by the European Athletics Council for a number of years saw a superb day of action as Moldova won four individual events on their way to finishing ahead of Cyprus and Iceland who both ended on 109.5 points.
Moldova’s Alina Cravcenco shared first place in the women’s 100m with Iceland’s Hra Hermodsdottir as they both ran 12.15 before Natalia Stratulat won the discus with a fourth round throw of 56.01m as she beat Kristin Rakocevic (54.07m) of Montenegro and Androniki Lada (53.12m) of Cyprus.
Moldova’s third victory came in the men’s 400m as Alexandru Babian (47.62) was the quickest from the two races, winning his heat ahead of Cyprus’ Georgios Avraam (47.98), while Yevgeniy Kasilov, of Azerbaijan, won the second 100m race in 47.80 for the second best time overall.
Moldova’s men then combined for victory in the Swedish Relay as Alexandr Cruselnitchii, Babian, Andrei Daranuta and Andrei Sturmilov won in 1:55.50 from Cyprus (1:56.20) and Azerbaijan (1:56.83).
Wherever she goes, Iceland’s Anita Hinriksdottir is always so difficult to beat and that proved the case again as she won the 800m by over three seconds in 2:01.71. Second was Azerbaijan's Anastasi Komarova (2:04.86) with Natal Evangelidou, of Cyprus, in third (2:07.28).
Hinriksdottir then ran the final leg of the women’s Swedish Relay as she was joined by Thordis Eva Steinsdottir, Arna Stefania Gudmundsdottir and Hrafnhild Eir Hermodsdottir as they won in 2:08.44 from Moldova (2:12.92) and Cyprus (2:14.26).
In the men’s 800m, there was a fine win for Kosovo’s Musa Hajdari (1:48.43) from Christo Dimitriou, of Cyprus (1:50.01), and Moldova’s Ion Siuris (1:50.29), while Georgia’s Valentina Lyashenko won the high jump with 1.90m and teammate Bakhana Khorava took the men’s long jump with 8.02m.
Azerbaijan’s Hanna Skydan was first in the women’s hammer (71.41m) and a third round 19.99m gave Bob Bertemes, of Luxembourg, victory in the shot put.
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Moldova 125.50 points
2. Cyprus 109.50
2. Iceland 109.50
4. Malta 70
5. Luxembourg 54.50
6. Azerbaijan 51.50
7. Armenia 42
8. Bosnia & Herzegovina 34
9. Montenegro 28
10. Georgia 25
11. FYR Macedonia 19.50
12. San Marino 16
13. Albania 14
14. Andorra 11
15. Kosovo 10
15. Gibraltar 10
17. Liechtenstein 6
18. Monaco 4