22 JAN 2012 General News

Bleasdale soars 4.87m in Villeurbanne

Holly Bleasdale soars to the UK title in Birmingham (Getty Images)Holly Bleasdale soars to the UK title in Birmingham (Getty Images) © Copyright

Holly Bleasdale made a major leap into the pole vaulting elite after a 4.87m clearance in Villeurbanne, France, near Lyon, on Saturday (21).

With her third attempt clearance the 20-year-old Briton moved all the way up to the No. 2 spot all-time among vaulters indoors. Only World indoor record holder Yelena Isinbaeyeva (5.00m) has gone higher.

Bleasdale was on a tear, clearing 4.40m, 4.60m, 4.72m and 4.80m with her first attempts. Her 4.72m success added one centimeter to her own UK national record set in Orleans, France, on 10 December.

She then had the bar raised to a would-be World record of 5.01m, but missed three times.

"I went for 4.87 as I knew that would make me second all time indoors," said Bleasdale, the 2010 World junior bronze medallist, who has been training in France. "I was thrilled when I got (4.)72, and then(4.) 80 then when I got (4.)87 I was so happy I couldn't believe it! I just lay still on the bed in astonishment. The crowd was absolutely electric and this was an amazing boost!"

"Everyone was on their feet shouting and when I attempted 5.01m the atmosphere was just out of this world! I've never experienced it like that before."

"I ran through twice and had one good attempt!! I was lucky to have the chance to attempt a world record but next time I will be more mentally prepared."

Bleasdale's performance, which outdoors has only been bettered by Isinbayeva, Jenn Suhr of the U.S. and Russian Svetlana Feofanova, will make her a strong candidate to win a medal when Istanbul hosts the IAAF World Indoor Championships, 9-11 March.

"I can't wait to watch the videos and get back into a little block of training before the trials where I will be off a full approach and hoping the crowd can spur me on some more."

Bleasdale's display will also be a massive confidence booster in this Olympic year after she failed to make a height in the qualifying round at last summer's World Championships in Daegu.

Bleasdale led a a British 1-2-3 at the meeting ahead of Kate Dennison and Sally Peake who shared the same mark of 4.34m.

Grabarz improves to 2.34m in Wuppertal

Rounding out a good day for British jumping fortunes, 24-year-old Robbie Grabarz cleared an early-season world leading 2.34m at the 25th edition of the International Jumps Meeting in Wuppertal, Germany. Just two weeks after improving his career best to 2.29m in Birmingham, Grabarz raised that twice more, first with a first attempt clearance at 2.30m and his second attempt success at 2.34m after one miss at 2.32m.

Russian Aleksey Dmitrik was second at 2.32m.

Bob Ramsak and David Martin for the IAAF