The British outdoor high jump record-holder believes she can clear two metres “and beyond” and says the achievements of her fellow British high jumpers spur her on
Isobel Pooley heads to the Indoor British Championships in Sheffield this weekend with her sights set on securing her place for Portland.
The 23-year-old achieved the qualifying standard for next month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships when clearing a British outdoor high jump record-breaking 1.97m last summer, and fresh from a 1.93m indoor PB in Glasgow last weekend Pooley is looking forward to getting back out in front of a home crowd. Victory in Sheffield would book her spot on the GB team for her first World Indoors.
“It would be really sweet to win, otherwise I’d still be very much hoping for a place on the team when it is announced on Tuesday,” says Pooley, who after clearing her indoor PB in Scotland on Saturday came close to also making it over 1.95m.
“I watched the video footage yesterday of the 1.95m just because I was really annoyed not to clear it and now I realise that I was justified because the bar was really, really close to staying up!” she says.
“It’s just a good indicator for the form I’m in at the moment, but also if I’m this good for the indoors then it bodes well for the outdoor season.”
On her aims for Portland, she adds: “I think I could go for a medal for sure.
“I’d love to get two metres, and actually that’s the best way I can approach it, just to focus on what I’m doing because if you jump high enough you’re going to win! I just want to jump high enough to justify what I’ve been doing in training and what I believe I can do which is two metres plus.”
Pooley is coached by Fuzz Caan in the same training group as London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, who the Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete describes as being her “single biggest source of inspiration”. With the Rio Games now just six months away, Pooley says the achievements of Grabarz and their other fellow British high jumpers help inspire her to success.
“It’s myself, Morgan (Lake) and Kat (Johnson-Thompson) who are taking the event forward at the moment and it’s fantastic to have company at this stage but I fully believe that I can be the one to increase that national record on towards two metres and beyond,” she says.
“Robbie is my single biggest source of inspiration. Having seen him go out and win an Olympic bronze in London makes me realise that it’s having the talent, but it’s also that with the commitment to training that combine to create that performance.
“Having known somebody before and after an Olympic medal makes you realise that you can do it yourself.”
Chris Baker is another British high jumper who has been in fine form recently as he added eight centimetres to his PB to clear 2.36m and move to fourth on the overall British all-time list, just two centimetres off the British record.
“I think Chris must have drawn inspiration from Robbie and then we can all draw inspiration from what Chris has done because if he can do it, then we can do it, so why set limits on your own ability?” Pooley says. “We don’t judge others as harshly as we judge ourselves.”
Like Pooley, Grabarz and Baker, double world junior champion Lake is also among those set to contest the high jump in Sheffield this weekend. While outdoors remains her focus, Lake also has plans for Portland as the 18-year-old says competing in the pentathlon is “on the cards” should she be invited.
“They take the top five indoors and the top five outdoors,” says Lake, with the winner of the 2015 Combined Events Challenge and one other athlete at the discretion of the IAAF also to be invited. “I’m ranked sixth at the moment indoors so I’ll just have to wait to see whether the IAAF invite me or if anyone else competes at the weekend,” she explains.
Lake achieved 4519 points when winning the under-23 competition at the International Combined Events Match in Spain last weekend, going close to her own British junior record score of 4527 that she set at the European Indoor Championships in Prague last year, as well as the official world junior record mark of 4535 set by Carolina Kluft and the unratified tally of 4635 set by Kendell Williams.
“If I go I would be trying to get the world junior indoor record,” Lake says of Portland. “I’ve been close to it a few times. That would be a nice thing to end the indoor season and start the outdoor season with.”
» The women’s high jump competition at the Indoor British Championships takes place on Saturday at 15:40 GMT, while the men’s competition is on Sunday at 12:15 GMT, with the event to be streamed live via the British Athletics YouTube channel