POLE VAULT sensation Holly Bleasdale insists she feels ‘invincible’ when hearing the crowd chant her name during major events – as she gears up for this weekend’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
The 20-year-old Blackburn Harrier sits third on the all-time indoor world rankings following a 4.87m clearance in France in January to soar into medal contention for the championships in Turkey and the London Olympics.
The Chorley vaulter is a novice in comparison to her chief rivals – the double reigning Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva – but her victory at the recent Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham ahead of a world-class field and two runners-up finishes to Isinbayeva already this year have shown she is quickly discovering the consistency to go with her undoubted talent.
Bleasdale was roared by a home crowd recognising a star in the making in Birmingham when she won with a 4.70m vault ahead of former world champion Anna Rogowska.
Those cheers will only grow louder if she wins her first senior international medal in Istanbul on Sunday, but Bleasdale is not phased by the pressure in a year when all Britain’s runners, jumpers and throwers will feel it more than ever.
“I’m really happy, I keep going to competitions and beating or equalling people who have won major titles,” she said.
“I feel the expectation a little bit, but I feel it from me more. I am my own worst enemy and I expect so much from every competition and every training session I do. I am coping with it all well.
“I can’t wait to get more experience and then go to the Olympics in the best form.
“Hearing people chant my name picks me up and makes me feel as though I’m invincible.”
Bleasdale added: “I’m running really well, but my technique’s just not clicking so I need to iron out the creases and make sure everything flows before I go into the Olympics.”