A mouth-watering 400m hurdles event is in store at 4pm on Saturday as two top Englishmen are confirmed in what is already a fascinating match-up.
Intertrust Athletics Games will be the season closer for visitors Niall Flannery (left) and Matt Sumner (below).
Flannery is the big name in the field having dominated the national scene in 2014 and 2015 – and he is ranked fourth in the UK this season too. During his most successful years he was an IAAF World Championships semi-finalist and Commonwealth Games 4th placer – not to mention winning the British title for two years in a row.
Prior to his senior success he claimed two European 4th places in the European Junior Championships and European U23 Championships. His personal best of 48.80sec ranks him as the 10th best Brit of all time over the hurdles.
Matt Sumner is someone who has beaten Flannery this year and will be looking to finish his season on a high in Guernsey – it has already been a successful year which has seen him set a new personal best, claim a silver medal at the England Athletics National Championships and earn his first England vest. He is ranked 8th in the UK this season with 51.21sec and provides an interesting narrative to the event for Alastair Chalmers. Sumner trains with the older Chalmers sibling, Cameron, and there is sure to be some added spice to this particular Sumner v Chalmers battle.
2003 Island Games Champion and multiple Great Britain representative Dale Garland looks likely to be added to the field – he recently posted his best 400m hurdles time since 2012. This means that there will be no less than four Island Games champions in the field of six. James Forman is the only non-Sarnian in that group of four but is ranked highest, having posted 50.72 to win the England Athletics national Championships ahead of Sumner last month. The Isle of Wight man is ranked 7th in the UK this year and memorably defeated Garland at his home Games back in 2011. 2013 Island Games champion Sam Wallbridge joins 2017 Island Games champion Chalmers as the duo look to finish their seasons in style with a high quality race on home turf.
Athletics Development Officer Tom Druce said of the race: “It is an exciting race for sure with sub-texts and narratives everywhere bearing in mind the Island Games links and various head-to-heads between these guys over the years. The all-comers’ record stands at 51 seconds to Dale, so I think Niall and James should have their eyes on that. But putting times to one side I’m just looking forward to seeing some big battles over the barriers – we have never seen a one-lap hurdles race of anything near this quality in the Channel Islands.”
Druce also paid tribute to the two local stars. “Ala has been one of the stars of local sport this year, for me. He won his national championships with an unexpected performance and then took the Island Games win when he was expected to do so. Then to take the Commonwealth Youth win in such dominant style was a pretty awesome thing to witness. All of that meant that I was keen to build a race around him at the Intertrust event because he’s really earned that opportunity…Sam is a bit of a different animal to Ala – he has had a difficult couple of years in many ways so I think the whole team was over the moon for him when he ran such an incredible race in Gotland to smash his PB. He ran under 53 seconds again a couple of weeks ago which was good to see and will give him confidence for this weekend and going into what is hopefully a big year for him next season.”