Youngsters take the 1500m honours before Cam’s show

OLYMPIC hopeful Cam Chalmers certainly made the most of his opportunity to dazzle a home crowd on a sunny Sunday.

This mild morning at Footes Lane proved a rather different environment to his last race outing, all the way back at the Doha 2019 World Championships, but Chalmers has not let the grind of training through Covid get him down.

He showed that by blasting to a Guernsey all-comers’ record of 45.98sec. over 400m.

It was a show of sheer class for those who had hung around to watch him, with the 24-year-old having set his own sights on little more than a run-out and maybe breaking Dale Garland’s 14-year-old track record of 46.50.

Conveniently, that same Garland happened to be running in the outside lane, the hardy veteran giving him a physical marker to chase.

Chalmers ate up the ground to pass half-way in an unofficial 21.50 and then motored home in a time that also puts him third in this year’s British rankings.

U20 Josh Duke also pipped Garland, 51.25 to 51.33, but Chalmers was quite clearly in a class of his own.

In the first event of the meet, Duke was bringing the upset in a battle of the Joshes over 100m.

He clocked an 11.27 personal best to pip established senior star Josh Allaway by two-hundredths as Ben Stevens, new to the U20 age group, showed his progression with 11.71.

Guernsey Athletics Track & Field Meeting 1 at Footes Lane. Nicole Petit.Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 02-05-21. (29504528)

The race for top woman proved similarly tight – and that was one for Vicky Mann.

Mann ran 11.94 to defy the resolute charge of Island Games sprint-hurdles champion Rhiannon Dowinton, only three-hundredths adrift.

Quality competition was also the order of the day in the 1500m.

The A race served as an early-season showdown between Chris Bain, James Priest, Will Bodkin and Sam Lesley.

Guernsey Athletics Track & Field Meeting 1 at Footes Lane. Chris Bain.Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 02-05-21. (29504514)

Those four featured in the early breakaway and though positions shifted throughout, they finished in that order, with teenage 800m ace Bain loping home in 4-08-21 after still trailing Bodkin at the final bend.

Priest also pipped Bodkin, here just before the line, while Lesley had to push the closing metres to hold off a rallying Gian-Luca Robilliard, who ended that burst of finishes with 4-11.70 and fifth. Robilliard is still an U17.

Chris’ younger sister, Kate Bain, was slightly less fortunate in what proved an exciting battle for women’s honours.

The pre-race discourse centred on Nix Petit’s Island Games qualifying ambitions, but the ever-improving athlete’s chances of a sub 4-50 faded early on and Bain soon headed the hunt for women’s honours.

The U17 athlete slipped from a quite substantial PB when she tied up in the last 300m, though, and Darcey Hodgson – still an U15 – became a surprise winner with a late resurgence.

Hodgson clocked a 4-57.73 PB and Petit finished a solid second, missing out on breaking 5min. this occasion.

The big-name field athlete, long-jumper Jordan Kelly, had an unusual return to action.

He started with a respectable 6.15m yet did not improve – unofficially perhaps, but all five follow-ups registered as no-jumps.

Guernsey Athletics Track & Field Meeting 1 at Footes Lane. Sofia Mella.Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 02-05-21. (29504563)

Sofia Mella landed in second place with a marginally wind-assisted 4.92m and unaided 4.57m.

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