Isobel Pooley savours successful 2013 season

Isobel Pooley admits she shouldn’t have even had a 2013 season, let alone finish it as GB's top-ranked female high jumper

Isobel Pooley admits she shouldn’t have even had a 2013 season, let alone finish it the number one-ranked female high jumper in the country.

But after doing just that it is no surprise that the Fleet starlet has the confidence to aim even higher next year – setting her sights on gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Pooley began her summer sidelined by a stress injury in her shin but fought back to represent Great Britain twice, at the European Team Championships in June and then a month later at the European Under-23 Championships in Finland.

At the latter the 20-year-old equalled her personal best of 1.90m to finish fourth, but just a month later she increased it by 1cm to take the sole lead in the UK rankings.

And after doing all this in a season that she thought would be restricted to the treatment table, Pooley’s confidence is so high that she has no qualms about dreaming big for her trip to Scotland next year.

“The summer was fantastic and better then I could have even imagined at the beginning of the year,” the Aldershot, Farnham & District Athletics Club ace said.

“I struggled with injury at the beginning of the year so having a season at all was an achievement in itself. As it was I earned selection for Great Britain on two occasions.

“At the European Under-23 Championships I managed to finish fourth which was fulfilling my two-year goal of getting into the top five.

“So I was really pleased to surpass my expectations on that note and to finish the season as UK number one in all ages at only 20 which is an achievement because my competitors are a lot older so it bodes well for the future.

“Being number one in the UK is a fantastic accolade to have but my PB is 1.91m. I am confident that I can push even higher and I won’t be happy until I push 2m.

“I am in a good training environment and I am confident that I can continue to improve and really push for Commonwealths gold next year and in front of a home crowd that will be a great experience.”

Despite sitting at the top of the UK rankings Pooley is yet to taste the atmosphere of a major senior international competition.

But with Glasgow in her sights to change all that she is determined to soak it all in before travelling even further to Rio for the 2016 Olympics.

“The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be fantastic as a first major Games for me in a senior age group,” Pooley added.

“I competed in the European Team Championships as a senior athlete but Glasgow will provide me with the stage to really make my mark.

“It is so important as an athlete to learn from experiences and take everything in and treat every competition like it is your last.

“You really want to make the most of the those moments so going into the Commonwealths next year it will be a full Games with an athlete’s village, and opening ceremony so I need to take that all on board ahead of Rio 2016.”

Lloyds Bank Local Heroes, in partnership with Sports Aid, has supported 1,000 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes. As part of Lloyds Bank’s commitment to helping future sports starts prosper, the programme will continue in 2013. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydsbanklocalheroes

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