Blackburn Harriers now have two athletes with United Kingdom records, both in the U20 women’s class, after Holly Bleasdale cleared 4.25 metres in the pole vault at last weekend’s Loughborough International.
Fellow 18-year-old Sophie Hitchon just failed to stretch her hammer record for the third time this summer at the same meeting, but was only five centimetres shy of the 65.98m she achieved last week in Germany.
She is second in the 2010 junior world rankings. The Loughborough International represents the biggest test the women have faced all season, as all the home countries send senior teams to compete with the cream of the nation’s juniors and students.
Holly was pushed all the way by a senior, Henrietta Paxton of Birchfield Harriers, who cleared the same height.
But the Runshaw College student won on count-back.
In raising her personal best by 20 centimetres and the National Junior record by 11 centimetres, she has also exceeded the qualifying mark of 4.15m for the World Junior Championships to be held in Canada during July.
The Commonwealth Games mark is also set at 4.15m and although Sale Harrier Kate Dennison is well clear with 4.60m, it may not be a fanciful target for the third-ranked Holly. Second-rated Paxton is only six centimetres ahead.
There was at least one familiar face at Sophie’s hammer competition with Hyndburn AC’s Mike Grime having been chosen to officiate.
She cleared 65 metres three times and was always in control even though her two main rivals for Commonwealth Games spots – Sarah Holt and Zoe Derham – both eventually nudged over 65m.
Derham, the only women ahead of Sophie in the senior rankings, was down in third with 65:13m.
With middle distance star Alison Leonard also in action, athletics sage George Kirby said it was one of the Blackburn club’s greatest days.
The 20-year old from Chorley set a season’s best 2:03.05 in the 800m to finish fourth behind Hannah England. She is also fourth in the Power of 10 National Rankings List.