Sunday saw three Guernsey athletes make national finals at the England Athletics U20/U23 Championships in Bedford and all three came away mightily satisfied with their weekend’s work.
Cameron and Alastair Chalmers (above) both continue to get faster over the 400m and 400m hurdles respectively and they both claimed age group titles despite being at the bottom of 3-year age groups. The junior brother Ala was up first over the hurdles and ran what he admitted was not a perfect race – however he surged impressively in the home straight to press home a narrow lead that he’d earned up to hurdle 8. His time of 52.06sec was a personal best and Guernsey U20 record and signalled a huge step forward ahead of significant month for the 17 year old – starting in Gotland, then to Birmingham for the English Schools Championships before finishing at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bahamas.
Cameron went into the 400m final as a firm favourite and lived up to that billing as he dominated the race from the early stages. He has twice been inside 46sec this summer already and had eyed Nigel Levine’s championship record before the race, which stood at 45.85 from 2011. He appeared to make light work of it as he took his own PB and Guernsey record down to 45.64sec with what looked to be a more measured race than his previous effort at Bedford. It certainly whets the appetite for the 400m final at the Island Games where he could face fellow 45sec performer Jamal Walton of Cayman Islands.
Someone else who can now look forward with optimism towards the Games is Sam Wallbridge – he was drawn in lane 1 for the final of the U23 400m hurdles but was still able to come through to equal his 2-year old PB of 53.51sec following a difficult 2016. Wallbridge claimed 6th place in what was a high class event but will take encouragement from the fact he was able to perform to his best in the tight inside lane and in a significant race.
All three men will now be making their final preparations for the Island Games which begin this weekend.