Holly Bleasdale has 'other priorities' before Olympics

Holly Bleasdale
Bleasdale broke the British women's pole vault record in July

Preston pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale says the London 2012 Olympics are not her immediate priority.

The 19-year-old Blackburn Harriers athlete followed up breaking the British women's pole vault record in July by clinching gold at the European Under-23 championships in Ostrava.

Bleasdale looks set for a place at London 2012 but is now focusing on competing at the World Championships in August in Daegu, South Korea.

"I've got the qualifying height, I am thinking about it but there are other priorities," she told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"I've upped my training sessions, I've been working on technical aspects."

Bleasdale took up the sport only three years ago and the Lancashire athlete wishes she had more experience as she prepares for the two biggest events of her career to date.

"I was doing hurdles and high jump at northern leagues, I never realised pole vaulting was an event, went to some taster sessions and really enjoyed it," she said.

"There's so many times when I wish I could have started it early, just think where I'd be now.

"But then I wouldn't have got the vital experiences from the other sports I do like gymnastics, football and netball, all the training I did for them has helped me get where I am now.

"Pole vaulting is a sport where you really have to trust your coach, if he's asking you to put your foot half back or take massive poles, you have to trust him or you could effectively die."

Her French coach, Julien Raffalli, has great hopes for Bleasdale, even though she has only been in the sport for a short time.

"Pole vaulters really mature after 10 years of practice, Holly only has been doing it for about three years, I think she can do really well," he said.

"To be a good pole vaulter you need to have physical ability and mental strength too. By doing gymnastics she came to pole vaulting with some training with knowing it."

Holly Bleasdale is one of BBC Radio Lancashire's 'Olympic Dreams' athlete in the build-up to London 2012.

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