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Bleasdale's Swede dreams
9:37am Friday 1st March 2013 in Sport
HOLLY Bleasdale has a first major title in her sights when she begins her European Indoor Championship campaign today.
Blackburn Harrier Bleasdale is among the favourites for gold in Sweden having enjoyed a stellar start to the season, and she admits her blistering 2013 form has elevated her expectations in Gothenburg.
The 21-year-old finished sixth in last year’s Olympic Games but having changed coaches over the winter she admits that standing on the top spot of the podium is now on her radar.
She said: “I’m in shape to jump 4.80 and 4.90 at the Europeans as long as I keep composed. If I don't think of anyone else I'm in with a great chance. “The early stages will be important because if I can have a clean card and not have many failures leading up to 4.70 that’ll have me up in the medals. “That will be satisfying because medals weren’t part of my plan this year. I just wanted to enjoy it because I’ve changed coaches. “But it’s gone so well that now I’d like to go to Gothenburg, get a medal and have a good battle with Anastasia Savchenko for gold. I think I’ve got a good shot at it.”
Bleasdale believes improvements in her technique, credited to her new coaching team of Dan Pfaff and Scot Simpson, can help her make the leap into one of the world’s best.
“I went out to America and Dan changed quite a lot in my head and in terms of technique,” she added. “He changed how I structured my run-up and other technical aspects in my vault. “Dan and Scott liaise a lot so it’s good to have a great coaching network around me because I’ve gained so much confidence. One of the things that really messed me up last year was my run-up. It had no structure. I’d just set off running and if it was windy I wouldn’t have any control over the pole – which is why in the Olympics I couldn’t vault. “Scott and Dan have been working on me having a quick but controlled run-up. “I had a couple of sessions in the States where it was really windy but it didn’t affect me at all.
“Dan gives you a lot of space so you can become an independent athlete. It’s been hard and strange sometimes with Dan because I like lots of feedback. But I now feel able to take my own decisions and that helps in competition. Dan and Scott also offer a good balance with their different approaches – and Dan knows such a lot technically.”
One such example is Bleasdale’s switch to longer poles which will be in use today. “I think they’re the key to my future success,” she said. “I’ve outgrown the 4.45m ones and moved on to the longer 4.60m poles. I’ll definitely use them in Gothenburg because I need to be gripping higher and I can’t do that on the shorter poles.”
Bleasdale competes in pole vault qualifying at 5.15pm before the final tomorrow afternoon.
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