IAAF now say Ala is the king of Guernsey athletics
ALASTAIR CHALMERS has leapfrogged elder brother Cameron for the top spot in Guernsey Athletics’ annual IAAF points-related rankings.
The 19-year-old’s British junior record in the 400m hurdles stands as the highest-ranking performance by a Guernsey athlete in 2019, based on the tried-and-tested international performance scale, with Cam taking very close second in a year of great sprint depth.
Sarah Mercier occupies the third spot following a new Guernsey 3,000m record, run on home soil, once again breaking the coveted 1,000-point barrier that can be seen as an indicator of Commonwealth Games-level performance.
Another nine individuals have surpassed 900 points – broadly considered Island Games medallist level – though Guernsey’s 4x400m quartet share the fourth spot after a gold-medal performance in Gibraltar.
Games absentee Cam is still the outstanding performer in individual medal terms, due to his British Indoor Championships title and three major silvers – one from the British Outdoors and two from the European U23s.
Statistician Paul Ingrouille noted that the IAAF has begun to factor these points into a world rankings system that can potentially define who qualifies for future major competitions – including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
‘It will be interesting to see whether the Commonwealth Games take a similar approach,’ he said.
‘Over 65% of the performances feature personal bests by the respective athlete and outside the top names it is good to see real developments from young sprinters such as Joe Chadwick and Abi Galpin.
‘In the absence of Lee Merrien, male endurance performances do not feature in the top echelons but there are some pointers to the future as young and developing athletes such as Chris Bain, Richard Bartram, Alex Rowe, Ryan Burling and Luke Williams all ran personal bests to make the lists.’
Ingrouille added that the scale tends to under-rate male endurance athletes when assessed in comparison to the top GB performances.
‘It is also a good year for field performances as jumpers Jordan Kelly, Lucas Rive and Jonny Guille all feature. Dale Garland could also have been listed but his best long jump was surpassed by his hurdles performance.’
In terms of male performances only, the Chalmers brothers lead the way by some margin over the rest of Guernsey’s club athletes.
Flying to the top position is teenage hurdles specialist Alastair Chalmers, who ran 50.07sec. over the 400m hurdles at the AtletiCAGeneve meet in Switzerland to set a new British U20 record.
Brother Cam occupies the second spot with his season’s best of 45.84 in the flat 400m, set in taking British Championships silver at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
Alastair’s run ranks higher on the IAAF scale by a mere four points – but Cam’s run ranks him higher in Britain overall, at fourth compared to fifth.
Both brothers turned down the chance to represent Guernsey’s 4x400m relay squad in Gibraltar, but the team nevertheless secured a brilliant gold and 3-13-51 time through strength-in-depth from Tom Druce, Peter Curtis, Sam Wallbridge and Joe Chadwick.
All four contributors rank highly on an individual basis, with Wallbridge’s 53.46 season’s best over the 400 hurdles ranking just above Chadwick’s U20 Guernsey record of 21.73.
Both of these performances took place outside the Games, though both rose to the occasion in Gibraltar and Chadwick truly shone by earning individual 100m gold.
Emerging 1,500m star Richard Bartram is the standout performer outside of the sprints.
Bartram clocked 3-55.13 over his focal distance at a blustery BMC Trafford, though Chris Bain ran a new U17 record of 1-54.83 over 800m and will likely be among his middle-distance challengers in future years.
Jordan Kelly adds some field representation with his 6.84 long jump performance, while Luke Williams stole the long-distance crown from Ryan Burling with a late-season 31-07 over 10km.
As for the women, Mercier’s record 3,000m run at Footes Lane reigns supreme in the women’s rankings.
The Commonwealth Games athlete clocked 9-27.94 as part of a reduced Intertrust Track and Field Series, breaking her own mark for the rarely-run distance in front of a home crowd.
Abi Galpin is another record-breaker, albeit solely in the U20 age group, and she was unfortunate to only have a bronze medal to show for her breakthrough 24.99 over the 200m distance in Gibraltar.
One-lap runner Indi Gallagher sealed silver at that same Games despite being outside her PB for the distance, clocking 57.43.
The fast-improving Jenny James marked an excellent year with a new 10k best of 36-43 on the roads of London in May.
Over the 800m distance, Katie Rowe set a new Island U23 record with her bronze-medal run of 2-15.31.
The next two women on the list have also been at their strongest over that distance, with the young Kate Bain and Tilly Beddow both recording times under the 2-20 mark this season.