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Franco wins first annual Charlie Flower tribute race ahead of Island Games

The Gibraltar Athletics Open Championship was to see Jessy Franco win the first Charlie Flower tribute race. A 400m dash which was also to see Norcady Reyes as the first woman to cross the finish line.
It was an apt start to the new challenge for this tribute race with Jessy having been coached from the sidelines by the late Charlie Flower alongside his father Fabian Franco, also a Calpean runner. The medals were presented by Gareth Flower, son on Charlie.
The last day of the Open Championships, although a somewhat low key event with few among the crowd and an overwhelming heat embracing Gibraltar on the day, saw some notable moments, especially within the 100m sprint.
A small field of five runners, three male and two females, provided some excitment. Rhys Byrnes was to fly through the finish line although admitting later he had not been feeling well prior to the race. The excitment came as the battle for third approached the finish line. Christopher Wall challenged by female runner Aitana Bado. The latter was to take gold medal in the women’s category, but in a mixed category would have finished with a brinze herself. Christopher Wall finishing with the men’s bronze.
The Open Championships, which came just a week ahead of the Team Gibraltar’s trip to Guernsey had been seen as an opportunity to have some of the top runners competing on the track. However, a small field with just as small a number of spectators provided some perspective at how athletics has been impacted by recent restrictions to its activities through the global pandemic and its past facilities. The sport, whilst seeing a growth in interest within the younger categories, seeing a diminished presence at certain levels within the senior levels which could take some time to fill.
As one spectator pointed out “this was among the lowest numbers seen in the past twenty years” during an Open Championship.

More images in a later print edition this week

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