Bleasdale ready to start pole vault challenge

BLACKBURN Harriers athlete Holly Bleasdale admits she is willing to sacrifice London 2012 glory for the greater good.

Four years ago Bleasdale had never even taken part in the pole vault but since then the 20-year-old has won European Under 23 gold, world indoor bronze, smashed the British record and moved to third on the all-time indoor list.

She will begin her London 2012 campaign in qualifying this morning, bidding to go one better than last year’s World Championships and secure a place in Monday night’s final.

Bleasdale failed to register a height in qualifying in Daegu in 2011 but is ranked seventh in the world this year, having set a new British record of 4.71m at the Olympic trials, and is expected to be in the medal mix-up.

But despite a strong desire to contribute to Great Britain’s athletics medal target of eight, Bleasdale has revealed it is long-term success that matters most – insisting she wants consistency rather than the odd huge leap.

“My technique last year wasn’t very good and we’ve worked a lot to make it much better and now it’s much better even though I’m not getting quite as high, it’s much more consistent on a regular basis,” she said.

“It makes me more certain to jump 4.70 every time, whereas last year I jumped 4.50 and 4.70 and then I went back down to 4.50 and 4.60.

“Whereas now I’m much more consistent, even if it’s not going to benefit me much this year, I know in the next couple of years it will make me jump a lot higher.

“I jumped my record height and then we kind of thought we needed to work on my technique and get it perfect.

It’s getting that way now and although I’m not jumping as high as I did indoors I think in the long run it will make me get higher with this new technique.”

The undisputed queen of the runway is double Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva.

When the Rus-sian was win-ning gold in Beijing, Bleas-dale was focusing on the football pitch.

“When it was Beijing I didn’t really know anything about pole vaulting,” added Bleasdale.

“I was doing hurdles at the time, still involved in athletics and playing a bit of football.

“It is kind of crazy now that I am at the Olympics.

“Hopefully I will do myself justice and compete really well.

“I have competed against Isinbayeva a few times but I think there are six or seven girls around who could get a medal and it depends on the weather and how people are feeling and whether people have got niggles and things like that.

“But I just need to concentrate on myself really, go in there try and jump as high as I can and hopefully that height will be good enough for a medal.”

* Lloyds TSB, proud supporter of Team GB and proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Get closer to the Games at lloydstsb.com/london2012

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