Cardiff-based Holly Bleasdale sets new world best in British title triumph

Cardiff-based Holly Bleasdale proved she will be a strong medal contender in Poland by clearing a world-leading 4.73m in the pole vault at the UK Indoor Championships in Sheffield.

It did appear she had cleared 4.81 successfully, but the bar eventually dropped after a long delay.

Bleasdale however was delighted with how her form was slowly but surely recovering.

“I feel I’m getting better and better and into my groove with every competition I do and today was a really good day.

“I feel I’ve improved a lot – I tweaked a few things and felt more like the vaulter I have been in training,” she said.

“Moving forward I don’t have to worry about perfecting my technique, I can just go out there and enjoy it.”

James Dasaolu issued another statement of intent ahead of the World Indoor Championships by recovering from an awful start to beat Dwain Chambers to the 60 metres title.

Dasaolu claimed victory in 6.50 seconds at the English Institute of Sport, the second fastest time in the world this year, to seal his place on the team for the World Indoors in Sopot, Poland, next month.

The 26-year-old added spice to the contest in the build-up by claiming Chambers was a spent force, but the veteran warned his rival to write him off at his peril after running 6.53secs for second to put himself in pole position to take the second spot on the British team.

“That’s something people should never do,” the 35-year-old said. “When people write you off it spurs you on.

“When the chips are down I bring out my best performances and today’s just an indication of that.”

Dasaolu had claimed in the build-up that the former drug cheat had been overtaken by his younger rivals and that the pair had “nothing to do” with one another.

“Banter is what sport’s about, he’s obviously in a position of confidence, so it’s okay,” Chambers added. “Keep them (the comments) coming.”

Dasaolu sealed victory, and a second 6.50s run of the season, despite getting the worst start of the eight athletes in the final.

“All today was about was doing three rounds in one day, coming through unscathed, booking my place on the plane, and defending my British title so I’m happy,” he said.

“It’s not the greatest start, but Poland is 30 odd days away. Everything else I will get right come Sopot and hopefully pick up a medal. I know there is more in the tank.”

The gold is a real possibility for the reigning European Indoor silver medallist, who last summer ran 9.91 for 100m to become the second fastest Briton in history. Only Cuban Yunier Perez has gone quicker in 2014 and that only by 0.01.

The performance of the day at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Indoor Championships came from heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who set a new national high jump record.

The 21-year-old cleared 1.96m to eclipse a mark jointly held by four women by one centimetre. Jessica Ennis-Hill, one of a number of big names missing from this weekend’s event, was the last to clear 1.95m seven years ago.

“I had no idea that high jump was in me,” said Johnson-Thompson, who made the clearance with her third and final attempt and competes in the 60m hurdles and long jump on Sunday.

“I’ve been working a lot mentally with the high jump, not so much physically, because I always feel like I’ve got a big jump in me.

“My coach (Mike Holmes) has been trying to give me the idea that I am capable of these heights and to put some belief in myself.”

The Liverpool athlete shattered her previous best of 1.89m to continue her hugely impressive start to the season, which has already brought personal bests in the shot put, 60m and 60m hurdles.

It further emphasised her status as a star in waiting and, with the pregnant Ennis-Hill missing this year, suggested this could be the year the senior medals start to arrive.

Johnson-Thompson’s form bodes well for the World Indoors, although she first needs to secure an invitation to the event, which she will aim to do at a pentathlon in Holland next weekend.

Asha Philip ran the second fastest 60m time ever by a Britain to win the women’s title and book her ticket to Sopot.

The 23-year-old, a former world junior trampoline champion, ran a personal best 7.09, just 0.01 outside Jeanette Kwakye’s national record. The time is the second fastest in the world this year.

The men’s 60m hurdles finished in a dead heat as William Sharman and Andy Pozzi both crossed the line in 7.64 to share the title and guarantee their places on the team.

Andy Vernon qualified for the World Indoors by winning the 3,000m.






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