• European Indoor Championships

Bleasdale wins gold in dramatic finish

ESPN staff
March 2, 2013
Holly Bleasdale produced a gold medal-winning performance © PA Photos

Holly Bleasdale claimed Great Britain's first medal of the European Indoor Championships with a golden performance in the pole vault.

Bleasdale, 21, cleared 4.67 metres to win the event - edging Poland's Anna Rogowska in a jump-off after both athletes had proven unable to overcome 4.72m.

The victory vindicated the youngster's bold decision to opt for the dramatic finish, with the two ladies offered the opportunity to share the spoils.

"We could either take the gold together or keep on jumping and I wanted to keep on jumping," Bleasdale told the BBC. "I'm so happy to be the gold medallist."

The jump-off saw both athletes fail a fourth attempt at 4.72m, before Bleasdale cleared 4.67m after Rogowska had missed to seal the victory.

"I've never experienced anything like that - I've never done a jump-off before," Bleasdale added. "It was so much pressure if she cleared it first - but at least I had another go. I was confident."

It was a day of double success for Britain, with James Dasaolu subsequently grabbing silver in the men's 60m behind France's Jimmy Vicaut.

Elsewhere, Jenny Meadows (1500m) and Perri Shakes-Drayton (400m) both looked impressive as they booked places in their respective finals.

Three British athletes - Nigel Levine, Michael Bingham and Richard Strachan - qualified for the final of the men's 400m, but there was disappointment for Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz as he finished sixth in the high jump.

"I think I came in with a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I just didn't enjoy myself," said Grabarz. "I think my performance showed that.

"I've just got to come back and put a brave face on. It doesn't matter what anyone's expectations are, mine are always higher. I came to championships to win it.

"It's really disappointing for me, but what can I do about it now?"

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