Bleasdale vaults into pole position

  • Last Updated: February 9 2013, 19:18 GMT

Olympic pole vault finalist Holly Bleasdale soared to the top of the world rankings as she sealed her place on the British team for the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

Holly Bleasdale: Top of the world rankings
Holly Bleasdale: Top of the world rankings

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Bleasdale, who was sixth at London 2012, maintained her unbeaten start to the year with a third-time clearance at 4.77 metres, moving above Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr (4.76m) in the 2013 standings.

The 21-year-old then failed with three attempts at a new personal best and British record of 4.90m - a height only world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva has cleared indoors - but is in confident mood after seeing winter changes to her technique pay off.

"When I jumped 4.77m I knew there was a lot more even though I am still not quite clicking everything together like in training," said Bleasdale, who has switched coaches and now splits her time between Arizona and Cardiff.

"Once I do that I will easily be clearing bars like that. It was the biggest pole I have ever used and I was so tired I thought I was going to land in the box, but my coach told me what I was doing wrong and so I will know for next time."

Bleasdale won bronze at the World Indoors in Istanbul last year and is optimistic of doing better in Gothenburg in March, adding: "I'm pretty confident I can go there and win gold. I'm very positive.

"I've jumped against most of the girls who will be there. Isinbayeva is not doing it and neither is Silke (Spiegelburg). There are a couple of girls who can jump 4.60 metres or 4.70m but if I go there and do 4.80m I think that will be enough to win."

There were also impressive performances in the men's and women's 60m, with James Dasaolu and Asha Philip both setting personal bests on their way to victory.

Dasaolu, 25, took advantage of the absence of five-time champion Dwain Chambers through injury to win in 6.58 seconds, with Philip's time of 7.15secs moving her to third on the British all-time rankings and equal fifth in the world this year.

"This was all about securing my place on the team and I'm happy to get a PB as well doing it," Dasaolu said. "I was a bit worried after my semi-final when I didn't get a good start, but I knew that as long as I got my start right I'd have a really good chance."

Philip, 22, whose time was also a stadium record, said: "I'm so happy that I've managed to time my championships perfectly. I sometimes peak in the semis and this time I said I was going to relax, then go hard in the final, and that's what I did.

"I've been working my socks off because I've got such a bad history of injuries, breaking my leg and so on, so it feels great to have come out and run as fast as I did.

"I'm happy that I'm on top of my game. I'm going to go to the Euros and I'm going to try to aim for a medal."

More worryingly, Andy Pozzi - whose Olympics were ruined by injury - suffered a hamstring problem after winning his heat of the 60m hurdles, with four-time runner-up Gianni Frankis going on to win the title, albeit just outside the qualifying time for Gothenburg.

The 24-year-old still has time to achieve the mark, with the team named on February 19 and the top two in Sheffield guaranteed selection if they achieve the standard.

Late in the day, hurdles specialist Eilidh Child smashed the Scottish record over 400m, clocking 52.06s to win her semi-final and beat the previous mark of 52.47 set by Sinead Dudgeon.

"I knew it was going to be tough. I thought I would just go for it and put a marker down for tomorrow, really," Child said.

"I never even thought about the (Scottish) record, to be honest. I just wanted to run fast, so I'm over the moon."


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