Athletics: GB’s Holly Bleasdale strikes pole vault gold at European Indoors
Pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale, 21, wins Great Britain's first gold medal at the European Indoor Championships
Holly Bleasdale claimed her first major senior title with a nerveless pole vault victory at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Gothenburg.
Bleasdale – a world indoor bronze medallist 12 months ago – arrived in Sweden as the top ranked European this season and beat defending champion and former world champion Anna Rogowska in a dramatic jump-off.
It’s a win that underlines just how much the promising athlete, who finished sixth at last year’s Olympics, has improved her technique and confidence since switching coaches to work with Dan Pfaff.
And it bodes well for her next target – this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
“We could either take the gold together or keep on jumping and I wanted to keep on jumping,” said Bleasdale, who started the week seeking medical advice after accidently spraying perfume in her eyes and ended it promising herself an entire celebratory cheesecake.
“I’m so happy to be the he gold medallist, I can’t tell you.”
The 21-year old cleared 4.67 metres at her first attempt in the jump-off to seize a much-needed victory for a British team that had seen other top medal hopes disappear.
Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz admitted he got caught up in his own hype after finishing a disappointing sixth in the men’s high jump final.
Grabarz failed three times at a regulation 2.27m as Russia’s Sergey Mudrov took gold ahead of team-mate Aleksey Dmitrik and Jaroslav Baba, of the Czech Republic.
“I came in with a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I just didn’t enjoy myself,” admitted Grabarz.
“I think my performance showed that. I’ve just got to come back and put a brave face on. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s expectations are, mine are always higher.
“I came to championships to win it so it’s really frustrating but what can I do about it now?”
And there was also disappointment for Shara Proctor, who was denied a women’s long jump bronze medal by just two centimetres.
But James Dasaolu was all smiles, despite missing out on 60m gold by the thickness of a vest.
Dasaolu was edged out of podium top spot in a photo finish by France’s Jimmy Vicaut, although both were clocked at 6.48 seconds – the fastest time in the world this year.
“I’m delighted with a medal and even more delighted with the time,” said Dasaolu, who crashed heavily to the ground after crossing the line.
“Maybe it’s a bit disappointing to be so close to gold but I knew it was going to be a tough race against that quality of field. I didn’t get the best start but it’s great to win my first senior medal and hopefully this is going to help my 100m now.”
Meanwhile, defending champion and British team captain Jenny Meadows and in-form Mukhtar Mohammed progressed to Sunday’s women’s and men’s 800m finals respectively.
“I can smell a medal now,” said Mohammed, who is ranked second in Europe this season over four laps.
“The gold was always the target and it’s achievable. If I get my tactics right and get in front at the right time, I’m certainly confident.”
Hurdles specialist Perri Shakes Drayton produced a European leading time of 51.03 secs to advance to the women’s 400m final in red-hot form, where she’ll be joined by British team-mate Eilidh Child.
And there are three British athletes in the men’s 400m final, form which bodes well for the 4x400m relay, as Nigel Levine, Michael Bingham and Richard Strachan all advanced.
However, teenager Laura Muir found the experience of her first major senior final too tough to handle as she finished eighth in the women’s 1500m.◀ The Sport Review homepageNext story ►
- England star Carson talks hockey and YoungOnes business
- Hockey clubs call for change to 'crazy' schedule
- Champion Irish rower needs your help to find MarrowMatch
- NBA Global Games tickets on sale Friday
- Ainslie announces engagement to Thompson
Read more on...
England star Tom Carson talks hockey and his YoungOnes business2 weeks ago Olympics
Hockey clubs call for change to ‘crazy’ schedule2 months ago Olympics
Champion Irish rower launches urgent appeal to find bone marrow donor2 months ago Olympics
NBA Global Games 2015 tickets: Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks3 months ago Olympics
Photo: Sir Ben Ainslie announces engagement to Georgie Thompson4 months ago Olympics
Mo Farah wins Great North Run in new personal best time5 months ago Olympics
Katarina Johnson-Thompson vows to make up for lost time5 months ago Olympics
Paralympic runner David Devine hopes luck is about to change5 months ago Olympics
Paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves eyes Doha triumph after great 20145 months ago Olympics
Kirani James hails home fans after 400m win at Sainsbury’s Grand Prix5 months ago Olympics
Mo Farah breaks British record over two miles at Sainsbury’s Grand Prix5 months ago Olympics
Stunning seven medals for Britain on night two at Europeans5 months ago Olympics
Mo Farah makes history as GB end record-breaking Euros on high5 months ago Olympics
Greg Rutherford prepared to jump big at European Championships6 months ago Olympics
Lizzie Armitstead third at RideLondon Women’s Grand Prix6 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Tom Daley storms to gold6 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Purvis exceeded own expectations with gold6 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Tom Daley thrilled with 10m synchro silver6 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dowsett uses anger to power to gold6 months ago Olympics
Commonwealth Games 2014: Williams targets Jamaica after 200m silver6 months ago Olympics