Guernsey Press

Chalmers aiming to get to Paris via Rome

ALASTAIR CHALMERS is all set to take on Europe’s finest in what looks a pivotal few days for his Olympic ambitions.

Guernsey star Alastair Chalmers runs for Great Britain in the 400m hurdles at the European Championships, which begin tomorrow in Rome. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33293518)

The Rome 2024 European Championships begin tomorrow and the 24-year-old Sarnian, as Great Britain’s sole male 400m hurdles competitor, lines up on Sunday for his debut at this level.

Athletics development officer Tom Druce has marked the level as beyond the Commonwealth Games, where the Guernsey great made domestic track and field history with his brilliant bronze in 2022, but below the World Championships, in which he also competed that season.

Chalmers goes in ranked 10th on season’s best. Outperforming that slightly would get him into the final, while the grand atmosphere will give him that boost he needs if he is to hit that Olympic standard of 48.70sec.

‘I’m really excited to see how he does at this level,’ Druce said.

‘It’s the perfect level for him.

‘We’ve seen the Commonwealth Games, he got on the podium when he probably was not ranked to do that. He outperformed other people with faster times.

‘The Europeans is a little bit higher than that.

‘It’s the stage where he’s going to lap it up and really enjoy it, and hopefully it will get him to the next level of performance – which he needs for Paris.’

Chalmers missed out on this level during his breakthrough 2022, having been selected to compete in Munich before calling a well-deserved early end to his season.

His first step onto the ‘Euros’ stage will come with a relatively unimposing heat.

At the same time, he is somewhat unfortunate not to be among the dozen competitors – led by world record-holder Karsten Warholm – who, using criteria that also includes last year’s times from late June onwards, have received a bye to Monday’s semi-finals.

Druce is conscious that each of the three semi-finals will come with four seeded athletes. Only the top two in each will progress automatically to Tuesday’s final.

‘It’s a tough ask,’ Druce added.

‘He is definitely going to be going there expecting to make the final, but he will know for certain that the semi-final is going to be a pretty big race.

‘He will have to approach the semi-final like a final, basically.’

The BBC will be televising the championships, which will take place from tomorrow until next Wednesday. The men’s 400m hurdles heats run from 1.20pm on Sunday.