LISTEN: ‘I want to win Games medal for Guernsey’

Alastair Chalmers' superlative performance on Saturday has raised his hopes of ending Guernsey’s long Commonwealth Games medal drought.

Ala Chalmers shows his emotion after breaking the Island men's 400m hurdles record with a brilliant run of 48.88sec. in Belgium at the weekend. (30875706)
Ala Chalmers shows his emotion after breaking the Island men's 400m hurdles record with a brilliant run of 48.88sec. in Belgium at the weekend. (30875706)

The 22-year-old blasted to a World Championships qualifier of 48.88sec. to win the 400m hurdles at Belgium’s IFAM Oordegem, racing not only ‘blind’ in the outside lane but without any close opposition in the international field.

His wide-mouthed expressions of amazement in the widely-circulated race footage said a great deal about what it meant to him.

He was still riding those highs 24 hours later after arriving back in the UK, at which point he was also quite expressive about his hopes for later this summer.

‘It’s just unbelievable,’ he said after running the fastest time by a British athlete in five years.

‘Seeing that time – World qualifier, Commonwealth Games, European qualifier, it’s technically the Olympic qualifier as well – it’s emotional to think about it.

‘When I phoned my girlfriend and my parents, I kind of started crying because of how much it meant to me and how much I put into this sport.

‘To see that time come up, considering I was in lane eight and on my own, I’m so over the moon. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet – just incredible.

‘I’ve qualified for everything, so I can just go into each of my next races kind of composed and not chasing anything. I can just run freely and I’m 100% going for a medal at the Commonwealth Games for Guernsey.’

Listen to a full interview with Ala Chalmers following his breakthrough performance in Belgium:

Chalmers is now a firm probable for the Oregon 2022 World Championships in mid-July, which begin a mouthwatering international triple-header that also includes the Commonwealths and Europeans.

If he is to achieve a medal at Birmingham 2022, it would be Guernsey’s first in 28 years for any sport. Previous Games results support his chances.

The double British champion has now also gained the domestic accolade that has evaded him for several years – the Guernsey record.

Dale Garland’s mark of 49.54 stood untoppled for 13 years, with Chalmers’ previous best being uncannily one-hundredth outside, until this breakthrough run.

Garland’s response was one of celebration. The veteran athlete and coach put up a social media post including the words: ‘Today Alastair Chalmers took my 400m hurdles record ... and I’m delighted!!!’

But, looking at his own career as a young hurdler, Chalmers firmly believes there is more to come.

‘I’m in a different league now, in the nicest way possible,’ he added.

‘I’m joining these guys who I’ve been growing up racing with and looking at, and now I’m on their level, so I need to just stay composed and keep training hard with my group and see where it takes me.’

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