New coaching setup for Bleasdale

British pole vault record holder Holly Bleasdale confirms her return to the UK to work full time with Scott Simpson

Holly Bleasdale (Mark Shearman)

Holly Bleasdale has confirmed a change in coaching setup which will see her relocate her training base back to the UK to work full time with Scott Simpson.

The European indoor pole vault champion had been splitting her time between Arizona and Wales, having spent the winter being guided by Dan Pfaff, who coached long jumper Greg Rutherford to Olympic glory, in the States.

She will now train in the UK full time, something the 21-year-old is looking forward to having previously admitted how much she misses the UK while away.

“The last eight months has been one of the biggest learning experiences of my career so far and Dan has done so much to help me address many technical issues,” she told UKA.

“But I am really excited to be returning back to the UK full time, the combination of the support from the British Athletics medical team going forward and being able to continue developing what I have learnt now under Scott’s guidance means I have the best possible team around me.”

Bleasdale, who cleared 4.67m in a jump-off with Poland’s Anna Rogowska to be crowned European indoor champion in Gothenburg in March, has been ruled out of the forthcoming Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham and the European Under 23 Championships because of injury.

Although she competed at the European Team Championships on Saturday she failed on her opening height of 4.25m.

“Unfortunately I’m going to miss the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham and the European under 23 championships due to small injuries,” she explained, “but I am now looking forward to getting my body injury free in time for the World Championships in Moscow.”

Bleasdale, who finished sixth at the London Olympics last summer, had previously split with her long-term coach Julien Raffalli to work with Pfaff.

In other coaching news, Malcolm Arnold OBE, one of Britain’s most successful and respected athletics coaches, is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Bath.

Arnold will receive an honorary Doctor of Education from the University, where he has worked as a UKA coach for the last 15 years.

During that time he has coached the likes of Colin Jackson, Jason Gardener and Dai Greene, with his athletes having won 40 medals at Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

“I’ve enjoyed working at the University of Bath,” commented Arnold. “It’s privilege to receive an honorary degree from the University, which has been such a big part of my life over the last 15 years.”

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