Greek pole vault star Nikolía Kiriakopoúlou is targeting the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague after what was a disappointing season in 2014.
The bronze medallist from the 2012 European Athletics Championships in Helsinki injured herself at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot when her pole dramatically broke as she attempted to clear 4.45m.
This unfortunate episode put a strain on her preparations for the outdoor season and she was only able to finish 7th at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer. “I did not know if I wanted to stop or continue. The injuries affected my confidence and I was far from my best,” Kiriakopoúlou said.
Prior to the accident, she had achieved a new indoor national record of 4.72m at the XL Galan meeting in Stockholm last February.
If she can reproduce that kind of performance this winter, Kiriakopoúlou will likely contend for a medal in Prague. “I want to have a good performance at the European Indoor Championships in Prague and win a medal for my country and also do well at the World Championships in Beijing.” She looks forward to competing at international meetings on a more regular basis but has not finalised her programme yet.
Kiriakopoúlou knows what it takes to earn major honours and has been training two or three times a day with Coach Emmanuel Karagiannis.
“The problems I had this year were not easy so I started my preparation with a lot of desire.”
In the absence of Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva who is expected to make her return in 2016, the women’s pole vault is wide open and Kiriakopoúlou could have a role to play.
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