HAD circumstances been different Holly Bradshaw would have been in a holding camp preparing for her third Olympic Games.

As it is, the Chorley pole vaulter has been in a holding camp of a different kind - her home; a training base literally on her own doorstep.

Hurdles, weight training equipment and, of course, the customary pole vault are not the usual objects Bradshaw’s Loughborough neighbours are used to seeing on their morning walks.

But is has been a daily part of the 29-year-old’s routine as she prepares to return to action at two low key events in Finland next month.

“Initially it must have been strange,” said Bradshaw of her garden furniture with a difference. “I was running, doing drills and lifting weights on the front drive. Once they all realised why I was doing it they became more intrigued!

“I am very lucky that I live very near to where I train so when we realised the situation we were going to be in, I was able to get equipment around to my house so I could carry on training. But I suppose it is a little strange having hurdles set up in front of your house.”

While the British record holder admits it was "heartbreaking" when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed she understands there was no other option. But with the Olympics due to commence this week, it hits home at what could have been.

“I would have been in a training camp in Japan preparing to compete in a couple of weeks,” said Bradshaw, who is a member of Blackburn Harriers. “I have missed all the excitement of the build-up to the Games, from getting kitted out, the preparations, the travelling out to the holding camp and then the competing.

“It was heartbreaking when they were called off but I totally understand why the decision was made, it was the only the decision they could make. But at least the Olympics haven’t been cancelled and just postponed and it is something to look forward to next year.”

Bradshaw has always had the ability to deal with adversity and turn troubled times to her advantage.

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“It is something you learn to deal with,” she said. “During lockdown, I did not pole vault for 10 or 11 weeks, when I was injured a couple of years ago it was six months so I have been in worse situations and that is something I have been able to use to my advantage.

“The same goes with my training during lockdown. In a normal situation, I would never dream of spending so much time working with weights and improving my strength. All you want to do is work on your pole vaulting technique.

“But all this work I have been doing with the weights has been great and I have improved all my PBs in that area.

“Thankfully, I have been able to return to training now and I am working on a 14-step approach for the coming competitions.”

Bradshaw recalls the "electric atmosphere" of London 2012 which will be a far cry from the Kourtane Games in Finland where she returns to action on August 1.

“I will never experience anything like London again,” said Bradshaw who finished in sixth place before finishing fifth in Rio four years later. “The atmosphere throughout the whole games was electric.

“Finland could be behind closed doors or with a very small crowd. They are opposite ends of the spectrum.”

Bradshaw will stay in Finland to take part in the Paavo Nurmi Games which takes place 10 days later while she plans to fly out to Poland to compete in Szczecin on August 16.

“These are competitions I wouldn’t normally compete in, they are fun little meetings, but I am just looking forward to getting away and back in to action,” she said. “My husband Paul is coming out to Finland with me and we will have a few days break together.”

Such is the situation we now find ourselves in, Bradshaw’s plans for the rest of the month are sketchy. She wants to compete in the Diamond League event in Stockholm on August 23 and then Gothenburg six days later but will miss both if she has to isolate on her return from Sweden – which would scupper plans to compete in Lausanne and Gateshead which has since been cancelled.

“I really want to go to Switzerland,”said Bradshaw who will now swap Gateshead for Ostrava on September 9. “Lausanne is one of my favourite events. Going to Sweden all depends on whether we have to isolate for 14 days when we return.”