Bleasdale sails over 4.70m on day two of UK Indoor Championships

Holly Bleasdale smashes her own stadium record, Jessica Ennis equals sprint hurdles PB and Dwain Chambers wins fifth consecutive 60m title in Sheffield


Holly Bleasdale was one of the star attractions at the second day of the UK Indoor Championships and the UK record-holder put on a demonstration to a close-to-capacity crowd.

The European under-23 champion wrapped up the title with her first vault of the competition at 4.52m before upping the bar to 4.70m which Bleasdale cleared at her second attempt.

The world indoor all-time No.3 vaulter then set the bar at a would-be UK record and world-leading mark of 4.89m but the 20-year-old, who has made some technical changes since her 4.87m PB last month, didn’t really come close to achieving this height.

Nevertheless, Bleasdale now holds three of the six best vaults in the world this winter and will be more than confident of challenging the likes of Anna Rogowska and Silke Spiegelburg at the NIA next weekend.

Bleasdale’s training partner Katie Byres improved her UK indoor junior record to 4.37m.

Having won the high jump yesterday, Jessica Ennis concluded her weekend with her first UK indoor 60m hurdles title.

The reigning world indoor pentathlon champion opened her account with a stadium record of 7.95 in the heats to equal her PB and Ennis proved to be the class act in the final.

Ennis enjoyed a super start and she stopped the clock at 7.94 before it was rounded back down to 7.95 and to put this performance into perspective, the Daegu heptathlon silver medallist was only six-hundredths adrift of Lolo Jones’ world-leading mark. Gemma Bennett was the distant runner-up in 8.22.

Dwain Chambers is approaching his 35th birthday but the Belgrave Harrier’s speed hasn’t been blunted as he rolled back the years to win his fifth UK indoor title.

Experience told in the final as Chambers lowered his season’s best to 6.58 to defeat European under-23 100m bronze medallist Andrew Robertson, who set a PB of 6.64 in the semi-final before improving to 6.61 in the final.

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey was third with a season’s best of 6.65.

In the women’s 60m, Jeanette Kwakye won her first UK indoor title with a stadium record of 7.20 for her fastest time since 2008. Laura Turner took the runner-up spot in 7.29 ahead of last year’s champion Jodie Williams in 7.31.

Former world youth champion Asha Philip was the UK-leading performer in the build-up but the 21-year-old, who was fastest in the heats at 7.33, was disqualified for a false-start in the semi-final.

Lawrence Clarke also succumbed to a false-start in the men’s 60m hurdles final, which left training partner Andrew Pozzi in the clear to win his first UK senior title.

The Malcolm Arnold-coached athlete showed good composure and after settling in the blocks for the third time, the European junior silver medallist came through to equal his PB of 7.62 to defeat Gianni Frankis by one tenth.

Coming fresh from PBs over 60m and 200m, Nigel Levine comfortably defended his UK indoor 400m title. The European under-23 champion put clear distance between his rivals on the last lap to set a UK-leading performance of 46.28.

European silver medallist Michael Bingham fought off Richard Buck for the runner-up spot in 47.07 to Buck’s 47.10.

Lewis Moses produced a final lap of 27.52 to outsprint James Brewer in the 1500m. Moses, who has already claimed the qualifying time for the World Indoor Championships, clocked 3:45.58 to defeat Brewer by eight-hundredths.

Commonwealth finalist Joe Thomas delivered another convincing performance en route to the 800m title. Despite suffering from a cold this week, the Welshman was rewarded with a front-running PB and stadium record of 1:47.26 to regain his title.

Thomas ran noteworthy negative splits, passing through 400m in 54.77 before completing the final two laps in 52.49.

Marilyn Okoro won her third UK indoor 800m title although the last lap was a struggle as she tried in vain to get the UKA qualifying mark. After passing through the halfway point in sub-two minute pace, the Berlin world finalist faded on the final lap although she still defended her title in a season’s best of 2:04.01 ahead of training partner Tara Bird in 2:05.00.

Shana Cox moved into the UK indoor all-time 400m top-ten with a 52.38 victory. The former American held the inside line at the bell and pulled away in the home straight from Nadine Okyere in 53.01 and Nicola Sanders in 53.11.

World 1500m silver medallist Hannah England stepped up to the 3000m where she outsprinted Katrina Wootton, 9:06.04 to 9:06.99. Gemma Steel, who is aiming for the longer distances this summer, finished fourth in a PB of 9:10.41.

Meanwhile, Claire Gibson took a gun-to-tape 4:17.38 victory in the 1500m.

Birchfield Harrier Shara Proctor won her first UK indoor title and she will go to Istanbul as a potential medallist in the long jump. Proctor set a stadium record of 6.68m in the fifth round to move ahead of Fiona May on the UK indoor all-time rankings and two centimetres behind the UK indoor record which is jointly held by Jo Wise and Sue Telfer.

Larry Achike-coached Abigail Irozuru finished second with a PB of 6.44m while Ennis elected to forego this event.

In what turned out to be a good meeting for the horizontal jumpers, J.J. Jegede set a stadium record of 7.96m in the men’s equivalent to defeat Ezekiel Ewulo, who also set a PB of 7.75m.

The men’s high jump was a bit of an anti-climax with neither Samson Oni or Robbie Grabarz coming close to their recent PB heights. However, Oni found 2.26m sufficient to regain the title he won in 2008 while Grabarz had to settle for the runner-up spot with 2.23m.

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