They say timing is everything. Nowhere is that more true than in the world of sport, writes Daniel Brookes.

The decision to postpone this summer’s Olympic Games will no doubt rob some athletes of the chance to compete in Tokyo.

But for others, another year of development could be their ticket to Japan.

Brothers Cameron and Alastair Chalmers had hoped to represent Great Britain at a maiden Games in 2020.

Cameron, 23, ran the first leg of the men’s 4x400m relay at the World Championships in Doha last year and would likely have featured again for Team GB had the world’s biggest sporting event gone ahead this summer.

He now faces a further wait to make his Olympic bow, but the move to next year could see him claim an individual spot in the 400m as well.

“Hopefully it could be a blessing in disguise,” he said. “I’ve had my eyes set on the 2020 Summer Olympics for the best part of four years now.

“It’s what I’ve been training towards and looking forward to but given the circumstances, it would have been slightly crazy for them to go ahead with it.

“Although it’s frustrating to have to wait another year, that cumulative training and experience could be that slight difference between making the team or not making it, or making the individual and being competitive in that so we’ll see.”


Big changes on the horizon 🌑 Unforgettable moment captured by @geofflowe 📷

A post shared by Cameron Chalmers (@camchalmers) on Oct 13, 2019 at 11:58am PDT

Younger brother Alastair meanwhile, is a hurdles specialist over the same distance.

The 20-year-old stood an outside chance of qualification this year but is excited about what 2021 could have in store for himself and Cameron.

“It’s definitely a benefit that it’s postponed a year for Cam and I,” he said. “Another year progressing, another year of hard training.

“Of course it would’ve been lovely to go for it this year and have a nice season just to race anyway but these things happen and I think it’s definitely more of a beneficial factor for our journey to get to the Olympics.

“Definitely for next year I’ll have my eye on an individual spot for the 400m hurdles which hopefully will be attainable.”

The Guernsey-born pair are training in Bath during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, receiving instructions by text from Cardiff-based coach Matt Elias.

Elias is a former 400m runner and hurdler himself, having represented Great Britain at the 2004 Games in Athens.

Now working for Welsh Athletics with the aim of establishing a performance hub at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Elias is confident the duo can make big strides in the next 12 months.

He said: “To be honest with Cam, the way he was training, the way things were going, I think he would have been qualifying for an individual spot anyway.

“I honestly think he was capable of running sub 45 seconds this year.

“What’s great with that extra year is it puts him in an even stronger place to not just be qualifying individually but then in 2021 trying to be more competitive and probably pushing more towards what it would take to make a final.

“For Alastair that extra year is a really big boost.

“It would have been a big outside chance for him this year. But he’s a very talented kid and it wouldn’t have surprised me if he got close.

“Now I think he’s going to be pushing towards qualifying.

“They both have the physical qualities and attributes required to not just be making the Games but being very competitive once there.”

Under normal circumstances, the boys and coach Elias would be enjoying a five week-long warm weather training camp in Florida.

In lockdown, they’ll be doing gym work in their garage after borrowing a bar and weights from a friend.

“We’ve got protective pads on the floor and we can lift and gym pretty much as normal,” said Cam. “Then in terms of track stuff we’ve also been pretty fortunate to find a couple of tracks that we can get on and just crack on with things as best we can.

“So not too much has changed for us actually. We’ve been able to train very well all things considered.”

The short-term target for the Chalmers brothers is the European Championships in Paris this August, with the fate of that event to be determined when the European Athletic Council next meet via video conference on May 7.