Pole vaulter Holly flying high

Holly Bleasdale
Holly Bleasdale

WIGAN pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale admits it was a case of mission accomplished after defending her Indoor UK Trials and Championships title in Sheffield – but believes she’s saving her best for the world stage.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Abram, was already all-but guaranteed her place at next month’s World Indoor Championships, having cleared 4.87m in January, which puts her third on the all-time indoor list behind Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva behind and the USA’s Jennifer Suhr.

And in claiming victory at the EIS, Bleasdale rubber-stamped her place on the plane to Turkey – even if her best clearance was 4.70m – missing out with her three attempts at 4.89m.

But the British record holder, who took gold by 33 centimetres from Katie Byres, brushed off the disappointment of failing to better her personal best, provided she can do it in Istanbul.

“I was really pleased with my performance. I’d be lying if I said I was disappointed,” said Latics fan Bleasdale.

“I’ve said all along that I just want consistency in my competitions, so to jump a 4.70m is really pleasing.

“In my mind I’ve wanted to do 4.70m’s and 4.75m’s every time I go out.

“Of course I would have loved to have broken the record right at the end there, but I’m just looking forward now.

“I’ve got the World Indoor Championships coming up, so I’m saving my big jump for then.”

Bleasdale looks set for one more high-profile appearance on British soil before heading to Turkey with the UK Indoor Grand Prix scheduled for this weekend in Birmingham.

And Bleasdale, who also won the UK outdoor championships last summer, is desperate for a send-off remember before locking horns with the world’s finest, revealing she’s been tinkering with her technique.

“I’m only really getting used to the 16-step approach,” she added.

“I had a long summer of the shorter approach and then just two sessions of 16, and this competition, so I’m encouraged.

“Of course I would have loved to have broken my record right at the end there, but I’m just looking forward to Birmingham next weekend now.

“There are some fantastic athletes competing and a packed out stadium is promised so I can’t wait. The atmosphere is going to be amazing.”

Wigan Harriers Jenny Meadows and Hayley Jones didn’t compete at the weekend. Meadows, who was a mystery guest on last night’s A Question of Sport, is still recovering from a foot injury.