15 May

Gotland-bound sprinters make the most of wind assistance

There were plenty of fast times by Gotland-bound Guernsey sprinters at the Hampshire County Championships in Portsmouth on the weekend as the persistent wind offered a hefty helping hand down the home straight. There were other top performances as well including European Youth Championships semi-finalist Alastair Chalmers’ season debut in the 400m hurdles.

Chalmers took the gold in the U20 men’s category as expected, posting a satisfying 53.14sec despite the difficult conditions on the back straight. Training partner Toby Glass was fourth and Peter Curtis matched Chalmers’ gold in the U17 category with a PB of 57.62sec.

In the women’s edition, Sophie Porter delivered on her status as favourite in the U17 300m hurdles, recovering from a false start in the 300m the previous day, she ran a smart race to take the victory in 45.0sec.

There were two Guernsey golds in the women’s sprint events as Abi Galpin continued to lower her time over 100m in taking victory in some style in the U17 event. Her blistering start set up a 12.41sec (+2.5m/s) clocking – a time which would place her 5th on the Guernsey senior all-time list had it been below the legal wind limit.

Hannah Lesbirel had an even heftier tailwind in her senior 200m win, but was pleased to test herself from the outside lane (due to the random lane draw for her straight final) and stop the clock at 25.52sec.

Strong performances elsewhere in the women’s sprints came from Amelia Lees who took bronze in the U17 200m with 26.35 (+4.1), Jasmine Norman who claimed a legal PB of 26.10 (+2.0) and 4th place in the U20 200m and the 2015 Island Games relay bronze medallists Hannah Barrett and Vicky Mann who both went under 13sec twice each in the U20 100m with their final times being 12.91 and 12.94 for 4th and 5th respectively (+2.6).

The male sprinters did not disappoint either – Josh Allaway managed two podiums with solid performances in the senior event, with his 10.88 (+3.4) arguably his best performance – but it was in the age groups where the more surprising performances occurred. Arguably a surprise call-up for the Island Games squad – Harry Burns (above, centre) more than stepped up to the competition around him when he claimed a shock victory in the U20 200m with 22.96 (+3.1) ahead of team mate Teddy Le Clerc (above, left). Not only that, but he returned the next day to record a windy 11.27 (+3.2) in the 100m to give himself a serious chance of an individual spot in Gotland.

Burns wasn’t the fastest Guernsey junior 200m runner of the weekend though – Joe Chadwick claimed a bronze in the U17 event with 22.81sec (+4.2) to thrust himself potentially higher up the pecking order for the Games next month.

In the distance events, Ed Mason had a good weekend as he claimed gold in the 2,000m steeplechase with 6:15.0 and a strong run in the flat 3,000m event to take bronze in 8:58.87 ahead of Dan Galpin in 5th. Mason is playing catch up in terms of fitness having sustained injury problems during the winter and spring.

Mason’s younger sister Eliza missed out on a medal in the U17 800m but will be buoyed by a new PB of 2:20.05 in her second outing of the summer. She will be contesting the event in Gotland next month.  University of Bath-based Richard Bartram also posted a middle-distance development standard in the 1500m – a significant PB of 4:06.35 for fourth place in the U20’s and only a tenth of a second from a medal.

Island Games Technical Manager Dale Garland led by example in the senior men’s 400m, charging around the windy Mountbatten Centre track to a 49.46 clocking in silver medal position. It was Garland’s best individual 400m for some time and confirms that he may again be on relay duty for the Games.

His protégé Ala Chalmers also claimed a 400m silver, this time in U20 category, to go with his hurdles gold.

Island Games squad member Lucas Rive was in action in the U17 high jump and was pleased to take a silver in 1.75m – he has been struggling with a hamstring problem and is looking forward to further competitions over the coming fortnight.

Away from the Games squad, there was particularly impressive hurdling from U15 Rhiannon Dowinton who was 0.04sec from Holly Mills’ championship best performance in her heat with 11.42 (+4.6) before she came back and stormed to victory with less wind assistance in the final – 11.45 (+2.8). Dowinton also posted a rapid 13.07 (+2.7) in the semi-final of the 100m.

Abi Tardivel took bronze in 13.28 (+3.5) in the U17 80m hurdles. Young Ben Solway was 4th in U15 80m hurdles with a wind-legal 12.86 (+1.7).

There was a new Island Record at U13 level as Kate Bain was 4th in the 800m with 2:27.63, eclipsing Becca Toll’s previous mark. Fellow U13 Summer Woodhead claimed a silver in the 1500m with a PB of 5:08.11.

Full results are available here

Videos courtesy of Chris Chalmers

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