Former UK pole vault record-holder Kate Dennison ends her career
British pole vaulter Kate Dennison today announced that she will retire from athletics at the end of a frustrating year in which her Olympic dreams came to an end when sustaining an injury in the qualifying round at London 2012.
Dennison showed promise as a junior, setting a national under-20 record at the 2002 World Junior Championships. Six years later she made her Olympic debut in Beijing, and in 2009 she enjoyed the best season of her career, setting a total of nine national records – three indoors, six outdoors – and finishing sixth at the World Championships in Berlin.
She set her personal best of 4.61m in 2011, but by that time rising star Holly Bleasdale had already upped the national record to 4.70m.
The news of Dennison’s retirement comes on the same day that Bleasdale has confirmed her coaching switch to Dan Pfaff. The move will see Bleasdale split her time between the USA and Wales. During her time in the UK, Bleasdale will be coached by Scott Simpson – the man who guided Dennison for the past two years.
It also comes just a week before UK Athletics reveals their list of funded athletes for the 2013 season. With many of the decisions being based on progression and championships performances, Dennison may have been facing a cut from funding.
“I am extremely proud of my achievements and have had an amazing time involved in a sport that I love,” said the 28-year-old in a statement on her website.
“From breaking British records on both a junior and senior level, finishing sixth at the World Championships and European Championships to a Commonwealth bronze medal and becoming a double Olympian – which of course meant representing Team GB at a home Olympics. It has been a fantastic journey!
“I know I could not have achieved any of this without the help of my coach Steve Rippon, who coached me from 4.00m to 4.60m and also Scott Simpson who coached me for the last two years of my career. My physio, Rone Thompson, has held me together through injuries and helped me prevent many more.
“UK lottery funding and UK athletics have supported me for many many years and my sponsors, Nike and Maximuscle,” she added. “Finally, my family and friends who have supported me through all the highs and lows.”