Guernsey Press

Chalmers brothers to miss Gibraltar

THE Chalmers brothers, golden girl sprinter Hannah Lesbirel and distance ace Ryan Burling are all notable absentees from the Guernsey NatWest Island Games track and field squad named today.

Bigger fish to fry this summer: Cameron (right) and Ala Chalmers will be missing in Gibraltar. (Picture by Martin Gray, 24596356)

But there is no shortage of proven talent travelling as well as many up-and-coming athletes in the 32-strong team.

Heading the talent show are women’s distance runners Sarah Mercier and Louise Perrio, plus among the men Games veteran Dale Garland and the young-but-decorated Sam Wallbridge.

In-form Mercier is arguably the strongest medal prospect as she attempts the 5000/10,000m double for the first time. She is joined in the latter by Jenny James, who has progressed markedly since Gotland 2017.

Wallbridge claimed silver behind Ala Chalmers last time out over 400m hurdles and has high ambitions this time around, while Millfield scholar Joe Chadwick targets a 200m medal in his second Games appearance.

The two remaining reigning medallists in the squad are Ed Mason and Indi Gallagher, who will be aiming to challenge their best performances over the steeplechase and 400m respectively.

The tightest selection decision came in the men’s 800m, where Joe Yeaman will accompany either Richard Bartram or Alex Rowe, who run-off at this weekend’s Hampshire County Championships. Both are already named for the 1500m.

Team manager Tom Druce was quick to note the youth presence in the team as GAC continue to support developing athletes.

‘We have shown faith in some of the younger athletes who just missed out on their qualifying marks – with Guernsey 2021 around the corner it only seems right to try to expose athletes to this level of competition to aid their preparation for that,’ he said.

Druce cites discus thrower Tom Brierley as a great example and is delighted to offer the hard-working youngster a surprise opportunity.

‘The selectors noted the unfortunate situation with regards to the lack of javelin or hammer in the Games this time and the importance of putting the throws “out there” as an event group.

‘We have a few likely medal winners who unfortunately are not going to be with us this year for various reasons, but it is now time to focus on those who will be. There are at least one or two who I think will go under the radar for now and then produce something significant in July.’

  • ALA CHALMERS yesterday took silver in the 400m hurdles at the British Universities Championships. He qualified fastest for the final.