Holly Bradshaw faces a big test on the eve of the Tokyo Olympics when she takes on the world’s leading female pole vaulters at the Müller British Grand Prix in Gateshead International Stadium on Tuesday 13th July.
The 28-year-old, who competes for Blackburn Harriers and is coached by Scott Simpson, cleared a British outdoor best with 4.82m at a meeting in Huelva, Spain, this month, whereas earlier this year indoors she cleared 4.85m, a mark which is close to her outright British record of 4.87m, which was also set indoors.
The Müller British Grand Prix next month is part of the Wanda Diamond League series and Bradshaw’s competition includes:
Katie Nageotte – the world No.1 this year after clearing 4.94m at a meeting in the United States this month where the pole vault was moved indoors due to bad weather. However, the 30-year-old American also jumped 4.93m outdoors last month in the States and she produced the best jump in the world last year too with 4.92m.
Anzhelika Sidorova – the reigning world champion has a best of 4.95m, which was set when winning that title in Doha in 2019. The 29-year-old is one of a small number of Russian athletes who have been allowed to compete as Authorised Neutral Athletes.
Katerina Stefanidi – the Greek pole vaulter is the reigning Olympic champion and her national record of 4.91m was set in the UK when she won the world title at the London Stadium in 2017.
Sandi Morris – the reigning world indoor champion also has silver medals from the 2016 Olympics and 2019 World Championships and holds the No.2 outdoor mark in history with 5.00m. The American has a good record in Britain, too, as she won her world indoor title in Birmingham and was runner-up at the 2017 World Championships in London.
Bradshaw said: “After opening my season well in Doha last month, things have gone even better since with my best-ever outdoor height of 4.82m in Spain. My event is really competitive at the moment and in Gateshead I’ll be due to face most of the top pole vaulters in what promises to be a really good competition. With the meet falling so close to the Olympics as well it will be a great final test before heading out to Tokyo.”
Such is the quality of the competition, in good conditions the athletes could get close to the world record of 5.06m set by Yelena Isinbayeva in 2009. Several women’s pole vault world records have been set at Gateshead International Stadium in the past. Daniela Bartova of the Czech Republic, for example, set a world record of 4.14m at the venue in 1995 while Isinbayeva of Russia set world marks of 4.82m in 2003 and 4.87m in 2004 at the same track.
The pole vault line-up is the latest event to be announced for the Müller British Grand Prix following the news that British star Dina Asher-Smith will be racing over 200m and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands will compete in the women’s mile.
Gateshead staged the first Wanda Diamond League event of 2021 in May after it was moved from Rabat in Morocco to the North East of England and now, on 13th July, the same venue will host the seventh Diamond League of the season after it was moved from its original home of London.
The Müller British Grand Prix will be broadcast internationally from 7-9pm with BBC showing the action live for domestic viewers.
Tickets will go on general sale from 10am on Monday 21st June – visit britishathletics.org.uk for more details.