Olympic heartbreak for Holly

Great Britain's Holly Bleasdale bows out of the pole vault
Great Britain's Holly Bleasdale bows out of the pole vault

HOLLY Bleasdale admitted a lack of experience cost her dear after a disappointing performance in the Olympic pole vault last night.

Bleasdale, who lives in Abram, is only 20, and a rookie on the world stage, but she refused to make excuses for her performance at the Olympic Stadium.

She stuttered over her opening height of 4.45 metres at the second attempt, and then failed to take out a normally regulation 4.55m.

It was a mark she had sailed over with ease in qualifying, indeed she has jumped better than that in 12 competitions this year.

“I’m really heartbroken,” she said.

“I felt like I could have jumped 4.70m but I struggled to cope with the conditions, there was a bad headwind and then, all of a sudden, there was a strong crosswind.

“You can’t be too disappointed to finish in the top eight of an Olympic final I suppose but I wanted more.

“I am really privileged to have competed in front of a crowd like this. I think I was lacking experience, as when the other girls come to a competition they know what to expect, and I don’t. Hopefully, by Rio, I will be at the top of my game.”

Conditions certainly didn’t make life easy for Bleasdale, who jumped a massive 4.87m indoors earlier this year to announce herself a serious Olympic medal contender.

However, at least the performance was an improvement on her major senior debut in Daegu last year, when she failed to record a height in qualifying at World Championships.

“It’s definitely as disappointing as Daegu right now,” she added. “I think the lack of experience I have at major championships made it harder to cope with the conditions. But I will learn from that, and next time I will pick up my game.

“I had felt amazing in qualification and I’d breezed over 4.55m by probably 20 centimetres, so to come in and produce that performance in the final is very frustrating.”

Bleasdale repeatedly waited until the final seconds of her countdown to jump as she hoped the wind would settle, with several athletes experiencing similar problems.

She will now sit down with French coach Julien Raffalli-Ebezant and plan her 2013 season, with next year’s World Championships in Moscow on her radar.

And in the long-term she may have two more Olympics to compete, while she will be at her peak when the world’s athletes return to this stadium for the 2017 World Championships.

“I am only 20 and I can’t forget I’ve had a good season,” she added.

“I’ve got some big heights and there are still competitions left where, hopefully, I get the conditions to jump even higher. It was really tough, but I will learn from this and it’s only my first Games.”