High flier Abigail Roberts is an athlete on the rise

Having moved to fifth on the UK under-20 all-time indoor pole vault rankings with 4.00m earlier this year, Abigail Roberts is an athlete on the rise.

The 18-year-old started 2015 in flying form, winning England Athletics under-20 and Northern senior indoor titles, together with silver in the Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships. She more recently claimed the England under-20 title in Bedford. She now hopes to move on to bigger poles in competition, which she feels will help catapult her to the next level.

She explains: “I was over the moon to come second to the Commonwealth silver medallist Sally Peake at the British Indoor Championships. I wasn’t expecting that, as I’ve been struggling in training due to being stuck between poles and therefore not confident of achieving the higher heights that I had previously done in training. To clear bigger heights I know I have to continue to work hard to be able to use stronger poles.”

“I was over the moon to come second to the Commonwealth silver medallist Sally Peake at the British Indoor Championships”

With the very nature of thrusting yourself metres up into the air upside down on a pole demanding psychological
as well as physical skills, it is not too surprising that last year’s England Athletics under-20 and English Schools champion was most proud of her first 4.00m clearance. “It was a big psychological milestone that I wanted to achieve while I was still 16,” reveals Abigail.

The pole vaulter is clearly in good hands as a member of The Dearne ALC and part of the same training group as Commonwealth silver medallist Luke Cutts and world youth indoor record-holder Adam Hague, coached by Trevor Fox.

“I consider my training group as my second family, as we all support and advise each other when needed and we also aren’t afraid to have a bit of banter while at training,” she says.

“To clear bigger heights I know I have to continue to work hard to be able to use stronger poles”

“Our coach Trev is very laid back, as is Luke, which helps me to stay relaxed and enjoy training even more. Having a top junior pole vaulter like Adam as a training partner helps drive me to progress as well,” adds Abigail.

Having completed an advanced apprenticeship in sporting and excellence at Loughborough College, Abigail is
currently studying at Wakefield College doing a fitness and coaching course. As with many pole vaulters, Abigail started out as a gymnast when she was four years old, competing in acrobatic gymnastics as well as also playing football.

When she was ten, she started doing all different athletics events and due to her gymnastics background, she tried pole vault. “After three weeks I did my first ever pole vault competition at Sport City Manchester, where I was ecstatic to clear 2.20m,” reflects Abigail.

“I consider my training group as my second family”

Considered by her friends as ‘one crazy lady’, Abigail loves the adrenaline rush she gets from vaulting, but not so much the logistics of transporting her poles.

She says: “Even with very few poles, travelling abroad through airports has been very interesting. I get so many funny looks and all sorts of questions such as ‘are they fishing rods, skis, javelins?’

“They are also one heck of a challenge on the stairs!” she adds with a smile.

You can find further performance stats on Abigail on Power of 10 here.

» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk