Cameron Chalmers finished his indoor campaign with a flourish as he again took home the gold medal from the British Universities’ event. There was certainly a bitter sweetness around this second victory however as he missed out on selection for the 400m at the European Indoor Championships by a mere 0.01sec. It since emerged that British Athletics will not be taking a relay squad to the event following a clear directive in their selection policy to only select athletes who competed at the British Team Trials.
The BUCS final itself was a great spectacle of 400m running – as 200m star Tom Somers dominated the first 300m or so before Chalmers managed to reel him in and utilise his superior specific endurance in the home straight. The time of 46.91sec was a joint championship record and illustrated the Sarnian is heading on an upward curve as he turns his attentions to the outdoor season.
At the Birmingham Games, attention was also on the 400m event as Indi Gallagher dominated her race from the gun and stopped the clock at 58.53sec – which as well as surpassing her outdoor best from 2016 was 0.03sec outside the selection standard for the Commonwealth Youth Games. She can strengthen her case further this weekend at the national England Athletics Age Group Championships in Sheffield and particularly given the conversion of indoor to outdoor times would hope to be given the nod even if she cannot find the 0.03sec she needs. Her training partner Amelia Lees found herself in a physical battle having been drawn in lane 2 and wasn’t able to match her stunning debut performance in the event from last month.
Fellow 400m starlet Sophie Porter was in action over 200m and clocked a rapid 25.78sec ahead of next weekend’s ‘nationals.’ She will be competing in the 300m there and will be looking to go close to her 2016 outdoor best of 40.33 which earned her a 5th place finish at the English Schools last July.
Also in action at the national event in Sheffield will be sprinter Abi Galpin, who became only the third Guernsey woman to break the 8sec barrier for 60m alongside record holder Kylie Robilliard and Jay Ap Sion (nee Peet). The 16 year old burst out of the blocks and was never caught by the rest of the field which included 24.3sec-200m-athlete Alicia Regis – and clocked a time of 7.99sec. Galpin was unfortunately drawn in the tight lane 2 for the 200m but still clocked a PB of 26.42sec.
Teddy Le Clerc was also in PB form in the 200m as he marginally lowered his best to 22.92sec, meaning that the Island Games standard now looks very realistic for him. In the same race, Harry Burns made his debut and set an encouraging time of 23.42sec. Le Clerc was back in action later in the 400 and ran a tactically superb race to come home the victor in 51.02sec – hopefully a good sign that he will be back to his best over that distance come the outdoor season. Sam Wallbridge tested himself in the senior 400m but admitted to it being more of a training exercise for him at this stage of the year – he survived a false start scare to come back and record 51.16sec.
There was yet more 400m interest as Peter Curtis decimated his previous best performance to bring his PB down to 52.49sec – again the exciting element for him and his coach Dale Garland will be what further improvements can be made from indoors to outdoors. His training partner Toby Glass posted 53.55sec for a PB of his own – and his mood will have been further improved by his debut outing in the sprint hurdles as he clocked 9.18sec. He may well be looking to tackle more sprint hurdle races in the near future as well as his usual event of 400m hurdles. And yet another Dale Garland-coached athlete left the Barclaycard Arena happy, as Becca Toll adjusted her race tactics from her last outing in Sheffield over the 800m. Her aggressive start was rewarded with a seasons best of 2:22.05 as she prepares for the summer where it looks likely she will contest the 800m in Gotland.
Indi Gallagher, Sophie Porter and Abi Galpin will be joined at this weekend’s England Athletics Age Groups Championships by hurdlers Rhiannon Dowinton and Sofia Mella. Coverage will be available via Vincosport and details will be posted on Guernsey Athletics’ Facebook and Twitter feeds.