‘Gold was main goal’ – Ala

BEST in Britain a second year running – yet Alastair Chalmers’ Tokyo chances are slim as it stands.

Ala Chalmers celebrates after retaining his British 400m hurdles title. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 29701558)
Ala Chalmers celebrates after retaining his British 400m hurdles title. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 29701558)

The younger Chalmers brother’s immediate Olympic fate is in selectors’ hands after ending the qualifying window a second outside the 400m hurdles standard.

His chance of realising his Olympic dream this cycle now depends on UK Athletics taking a particularly generous stance and accepting him via a ‘future global medal potential’ consideration, which would first require an invite from World Athletics based on his global ranking. It is otherwise all about Paris 2024.

Putting the pinnacle of world sport aside, Chalmers’ monumental achievement of back-to-back British titles cannot be taken away from him.

‘To get the gold medal was my main goal of the whole weekend and to get it back-to-back ... was just incredible as well,’ he said afterwards.

‘It was such a battle towards the end of the race but I knew I was going to come home stronger than my competitors because I train so hard and that’s my best part of the race, really.

‘I knew I had it in me.’

Pointing to the Guernsey emblem on his vest and gesticulating fondly afterwards – a moment shared on Guernsey Athletics’ social media – was how he showed his pride and patriotism in Manchester.

But after hitting halfway on track for a big personal best, he admitted his time of 49.98sec. was ‘a bit of a shame’.

‘I thought it was going to be a bit quicker, but my top bend wasn’t good enough. I stuttered at hurdle six and hurdle eight – the conditions weren’t great.’

His hunt for a genuinely fast time this season will continue in under two weeks’ time with the European U23 Championships in Estonia.

And there will be other major competitions, including a big one in Guernsey colours at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, if the impending Tokyo squad announcement does not work in his favour.

‘If Tokyo still doesn’t happen, then that’s what it is.

‘I’m 21 years old and my main aim has always been Paris anyway. I’ve still got to keep moving hard and training hard and I’ve even got the Worlds, Europeans and “Commies” next year.

‘I’ll be working extremely hard for that also.’

Ala’s older brother Cam took silver in the men’s 400m having had to cope with the challenge of running the final ‘blind’ in lane eight.

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