Alastair Chalmers came away with a silver medal in the senior boys 400m hurdles at the English Schools’ Championships in Birmingham on a weekend that proved a challenging one for most of Guernsey’s contingent of athletes.
Peter Curtis had arguably the most positive weekend of all the athletes as he clocked 56.17 for 5th place in the intermediate boys 400m hurdles final – in the process going 6th in the U17 UK rankings. It was a huge step forward from his pre-championship PB of 57.62 and most encouraging for him ahead of next month’s national championships.
His training partner Chalmers was hoping for gold in the senior category but had to come from a long way adrift of the leaders in the home straight to snatch a silver on the line. He was one of a few who were possibly suffering from post-Island Games blues as the emotional highs and lows experienced in Gotland looked to have an impact on the youngsters.
Like Chalmers, Indi Gallagher experienced highs in Gotland as she unexpectedly smashed the Island senior 400m record to take the Island Games bronze medal. In Birmingham she ran her second-fastest ever time to claim a place in the senior girls final but was unable to improve on that showing the following day and finished 8th in a strong field. Two of her training partners suffered relay heart-break in Gotland and Abi Galpin and Jasmine Norman were well outside of their PB’s in the heats of the inter girls 100m and senior girls 200m respectively.
The two female hurdlers on the team had not travelled to Gotland for the Island Games and both looked sharp. Sophie Porter breezed through the heats of the inter girls 300m hurdles in a new PB and Island U17 record of 43.29. Going in lane 3 in the final, she was chasing down some fast starters in the lanes outside her before unfortunately clattering the fourth hurdle and falling to the track. Jasmine Jolly, who Porter had dispatched in the heats the previous day, went on to take the win in 42.55.
Rhiannon Dowinton progressed through to the semi-final stage of the junior girls 75m hurdles with 11.67 in her heat. She managed to run 0.01sec quicker in her semi-final but was agonisingly edged out of a final spot by that same margin. Dowinton ran strongly during the mid-section of the race but was slightly down on the field following the start. Like many of the younger athletes, she now will have a period of training and racing leading up to the national age group championships at the end of August.