Holly Bleasdale believes she will benefit from the attention that will be elsewhere at this year’s World Championships.

The battle between Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr and Russian golden girl Yelena Isinbayeva is set to take centre stage in Moscow.

Bleasdale, 21, had to fight back the tears last year after finishing sixth at the London Olympics, having been tipped as a potential medal contender ahead of the Games.

However, windy conditions and nerves got the better of the Preston-born athlete and she failed to clear 4.55 metres, well below her season’s best.

While admitting London, and the build-up, gave her invaluable experience, Bleasdale is happy for the spotlight to be on Suhr and Isinbayeva, who will be looking to make up for her bronze medal in London.

Bleasdale said: “I think it is a good thing. For four years leading up to the Olympics I had so much pressure on me.

“When I jumped the qualification standard everyone was saying ‘oh you can go there and win a medal’ and I only jumped about 4.50 which to me was just ridiculous.

“It is nice going into a champs with the pressure off, go and enjoy it and see what I can do when the pressure is off.

“I think it will be really nice. I am just going there to enjoy myself and get more championship experience, I just want to be up there competing with the best girls in the world.

“If I finish sixth or fifth but with a respectable height that will be great for me.”

Following the Olympics, Bleasdale appointed American Dan Pfaff as her new coach and decided to share her time between Cardiff and Phoenix, Arizona.

It is a move that has proven to be the right one, with gold at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg last month the pinnacle so far.

For Bleasdale the strides she has made with Pfaff have also given her confidence to feel she could cope with whatever is thrown at her – even if she does miss her family and carveries!

“It has paid off so much and now, if I was in the same situation again, I think I’d be able to handle the wind and conditions physically and mentally a lot better, which is great to know.

“He (Pfaff) has taught me so much: he says knowledge is power and when I went into the (Gothenburg) meet I was really confident. And although I had lot of battles with the jump off and doing a lot of jumps, I felt really positive and confident in my ability and that paid off and showed in my jumping.

“I know it has paid off already: for me it was a no-brainer, it was the best thing for me to do to help me improve.”

After this summer’s World Championships come next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, something Bleasdale will prioritise.

Given she is only 21, Bleasdale has many years of competition ahead of her, although it is hard to imagine anyone dominating to the extent Isinbayeva did.

Suhr joined the Russian as only the second woman to have cleared a height of five metres when she eclipsed the world record last month.

For Bleasdale this can only be positive for the sport, admitting it spurred her on to push towards such a barrier although she believes it may have to wait until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

As for Isinbayeva, she added: “I think she is so talented, so good at the event and has been doing it for so long that she is always going to be around five metres. I can’t see her being any lower than that which is so good for the sport.”

From: http://web.orange.co.uk/article/sports/bleasdale_pressure_is_off_me

Bleasdale Vaulter Magazine
Bleasdale Vaulter Magazine

Leave A Comment