Chalmers aiming to complete a hat-trick

A THIRD straight national title is the clear aim for Alastair Chalmers this weekend.

Alastair Chalmers is defending his national 400m hurdles title in Manchester this weekend. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 30961125)
Alastair Chalmers is defending his national 400m hurdles title in Manchester this weekend. (Picture by Mark Shearman, 30961125)

The 400m hurdles specialist will shoulder Guernsey’s medal hopes at the UK Championships in Manchester, especially with elder brother Cam withdrawing due to an untimely niggle.

But Ala has proved his worth more than ever.

Guernsey Athletics development officer Tom Druce highlighted last month’s 48.88sec. run in Belgium as statistically the best track and field performance ever produced by a local – and that is backed by his sentiment.

‘I have not been been left open-mouthed by Ala’s performances very often over the years, because he has a track record of delivering,’ he said.

‘But that one just had me staring at my phone open-mouthed, so that’s saying something.’

The World Athletics scoring tables are ‘more and more relevant’, Druce believes, and Dale Garland’s 49.54 was previously ranked the top Guernsey performance across any event. Chalmers took 0.66 off that.

‘That kind of says it all,’ the development officer said in justifying Chalmers’ sub-49 as the greatest Guernsey performance of all time.

Naturally, Druce sees the 22-year-old lining up as favourite, even with Chris McAlister and Seamus Derbyshire having recently run under 49.5.

‘It’s probably the toughest competition that he has got in the last three years, but he is obviously top of the tree, so he will be confident going in and he should be.’

An Oregon 2022 World Championships spot is at stake for Chalmers, who is the only British athlete with the qualifying time and should guarantee selection by finishing in the top two.

Fellow hurdler Peter Curtis is not competing at those heady heights, but he will be hoping to capitalise on the big-race atmosphere.

He ran his current personal best of 52.00 in taking sixth at the 2020 British Championships.

Making a final will be tough as a large number of classy athletes across the heats battle for just eight spots.

So, even given her domestic record-smashing ways, Abi Galpin will be up against it in the 200m.

World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith has already qualified for Oregon 2022, but the mouthwatering entry in Manchester includes numerous other stars, including several who would ordinarily focus on the 100m – the big name being Daryll Neita.

‘We are thinking there might be a chance of getting in the final, but there’s all these 100m specialists who are running 10.9 to 11.2 for 100m and have all gone up to the 200m,’ Druce said.

‘We are just looking to have a good run, really.’

Today marks the start of the championships, with the 400m hurdles heats running from 4pm ahead of Saturday’s final at 3.15pm.

The women’s 200m heats run from 1.35pm on Sunday and the final takes place just two hours later.

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