Ala defends title but no direct Tokyo spot

ALASTAIR CHALMERS headed a gold-and-silver medal haul for Guernsey’s top track brothers in Manchester – but the Olympic qualifying times remain untouched.

Repeat champion: Alastair Chalmers holds off the challenge of Alex Knibbs to take a second 400m hurdles title. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 29700587)
Repeat champion: Alastair Chalmers holds off the challenge of Alex Knibbs to take a second 400m hurdles title. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 29700587)

The younger Chalmers brother’s successful 400m hurdles title defence added extra sheen to a British Championships and Olympic trials weekend that earlier featured a silver-medal run for Cam on the flat.

However, as far as the Olympic qualifying criteria goes, neither have booked their place to run individually in Tokyo next month.

Yesterday’s golden performance from young Ala saw the 21-year-old win a duel with familiar rival Alex Knibbs.

The Amber Valley runner – whose season’s best is marginally quicker than Ala’s – loomed threateningly throughout, but the Guernseyman closed stronger off the final barrier to triumph in 49.98sec.

Knibbs trailed in 50.33, nearly a second clear of bronze medallist Jacob Paul, the 2019 champion. ‘Worlds’ representative Chris McAlister lost contention in a late-race fall.

Elder brother Cam faced the challenge of running blind from lane eight in his 400m final.

He got out hard and hit the home straight still looking favourable, only for Crawley’s relatively unknown Niclas Baker to parry his characteristic finish and steal the glory with a 46.05 PB.

Cam, who followed in 46.19, still looks a worthy relay pick in Guernsey Athletics development officer Tom Druce’s view.

‘I think clearly he’d have hoped to see off that field with a win, but silver isn’t to be sniffed at,’ Druce said.

‘The individual spot was always going to be a stretch because UKA have tough-looking criteria, and this weekend has strengthened his relay claims as other big names foundered somewhat.’

British No. 1 Matt Hudson-Smith retired after 100m due to injury.

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