Katie talks to Active Derbyshire

Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, we caught up with 20 year old Hadfield Pole Vaulter Katie Byres who was talking to local companies at the Derbyshire Sport Bondholders Breakfast at Morley Hayes hotel and golf club about the importance of the support she’s had from Derbyshire Sport’s ICON scheme.

Katie Byres Derbyshire Pole Vaulter

Q You must be really excited about representing England at the Commonwealth Games?

I really am looking forward to it.  It’s almost a home crowd for us so to have that support there will be great.

Q You were inspired to take up Pole Vaulting after watching the Athens Olympics as a little girl, weren’t you?

Yes, I saw Yelena Isinbayeva compete in the women’s final and it looked fun.  I did high jump and hurdles for a few years but Pole Vault was always the one I wanted to specialise in.

Luckily I found a really good coach in Manchester who helped me get to where I am now.  Recently I’ve changed coaches and moved to Loughborough, so it’s all happening.

Q What’s your personal best?

4m 52cm – that’s the height of a double-decker bus!  [That jump, made in France in 2012, was the third highest in the world ever set by a Junior Under 20.]

Katie Byres Derbyshire Pole Vaulter with Clay Shooter Caroline Povey, MTBer Annie Last and Steeplechaser Luke Gunn

Q Pole Vaulting is a specialist skill but if people taking part in the #TeamEngland Workplace Challenge are inspired by you, what activities could they try to get an idea of the physical needs of your sport?

Pole Vaulting is very much an all-body sort of sport.  Quite a lot of young girls start off in gymnastics – pole vaulting is great next step for people like me who get too tall for gymnastics.

I’d also suggest going down to the athletics track and trying all the different events.  You never know, you might even find a good coach you could try Pole Vaulting with.

Q We’re celebrating the relationship between sport and business – what’s been the importance to you of being supported by local businesses?

Katie Byres Derbyshire Pole Vaulter talking to BBC Radio Derby

Massive.  Pole Vaulting is such a costly sport.  The poles can cost thousands of pounds and they’re expensive to transport.

People think they’re telescopic but they’re not.  They have to go on the top of the car and flying on planes with them is an absolute nightmare.

Q So even small amounts make a difference?

Yes, every little bit helps.  The Derbyshire Sport ICON bursary I got last year helped pay for some of my coach’s travel costs.

Any contribution I’ve had has allowed me to travel and compete against the best people that I can.

Q Your family’s obviously taken a big role in your career?

Definitely, I couldn’t have got to where I’ve got to without my parents.  Luckily they work for themselves so they managed to take me to training, travel to France with the poles to save on costs.  They definitely inspire me to keep going.



Katie Byres Pole Vault Derbyshire Sport Breakfast - 2

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