For more than a year British pole vault record holder Holly Bradshaw lay in bed watching TV, lacking the motivation to do anything.
A back injury had already robbed her of the vast majority of the 2013 season and, attempting to comeback for the following indoor season, it became abundantly clear that the issue had not been fixed.
Bradshaw, who made her name as Holly Bleasdale before her marriage this year, was forced to go under the knife and she would not vault again in competition until June this year.
At that comeback meeting she achieved the World Championships standard and, having made light work of qualifying, she will take her place in tomorrow’s final at the Bird’s Nest Stadium.
“I’ve had quite a few low points where I’ve really questioned is all this commitment worth it?” she said.
“But it definitely 100 per cent is. I’m so excited to be back, I love pole vaulting so much, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that going through all the pain and the hard times is totally worth it.
“I remember my first vault session back after 14 months, it was unbelievable. I had the biggest smile on my face.”
Despite having barely more than a dozen vaulting sessions under her belt this season, Bradshaw cleared 4.55m in qualifying to achieve her initial aim of making the final.
Although her personal best of 4.87m – which would put her second in this year’s rankings – is likely to prove beyond her she is not ruling out making the podium in Beijing.
“I’ve found my timing and I’m back in a really good place,” she said.
“I surprised myself after the long two years I’ve had. I’m confident that I am fit, healthy and jumping well, so you never know what can happen in the final.”
Assured of their place in the 400m final is reigning champion Christine Ohuruogu who eased through to as the fourth fastest qualifier in a season’s best time of 50.16sec.
Bidding to retain the title she won so dramatically in Moscow two years ago, Ohuruogu looks to be repeating her usual trick of peaking at the crucial moment although American Allyson Felix confirmed her status as the favourite for gold by jogging round in the fastest semi-final time of 49.89sec.
Laura Muir said she was “really pleased” to finish fifth in the 1500m final, which was won by world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia.
“That was such a tough field I think any other year I probably would have medalled,” said the Scot.
“To come fifth against that other competition I am really, really happy.”