2nd August 2021


Holly Bradshaw outlined her Olympic medal intentions by sailing into the women’s pole vault final in terrible Tokyo weather conditions.

Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn) cleared 4.55m at the first attempt and that would be enough to take her through to a third Olympic final.

Biblical rain hit the Olympic Stadium as the night progressed, with a number of vaulters including USA’s Sandi Morris running into trouble, but Bradshaw avoided the worst.

“Qualifying like that is what you dream of,” said the 29-year-old. “The rest of the night was the exact opposite of what you dream of and it was just a matter of staying strong, getting through and being as clean as possible.

“I felt on a few occasions anxiety bubbling up and starting to lose control, but I was able to bat that away with all the years of experience. I’m proud of myself to deal with the stress.

“The track was incredible, the wind was great, and I think if we get a break with the rain, we could see some really strong performances.”

Bradshaw improved her own national record to 4.90m at the Muller British Athletics Championships in June, putting her third on the world list this year.

The only two to have vaulted higher in 2021 – USA’s Katie Nageotte and Russian Olympic Committee’s Anzhelika Sidorova – will join her in the final alongside reigning champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece.

“There are now four of us in there that can deliver a 4.80 or 4.90, so it’s four girls for three medals,” said Bradshaw.

“I’m in the shape of my life and there are no excuses for me now, I need to deliver on Thursday.

“If I can deliver a 4.80 or 4.90, I don’t see why I won’t be among the medals.”

Meanwhile, Beth Dobbin mixed it with the very best as her individual Olympic campaign came to an end with fifth place in the women’s 200m semi-finals.

Having produced an equal season’s best in the heats, she was again drawn to face newly-crowned 100m champion and Olympic record holder, Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh) was first to react to the gun and while she couldn’t stay with the leaders, she clocked 22.85 (+0.3).

The Games marks a third major Championships and second on the global stage for the 27-year-old, who is also part of the 4x100m relay squad.

“I do have to pinch myself every time I run with these girls, but I am getting more used to it,” said Dobbin.

“This year’s been the first year when I’ve been on the Diamond League circuit and it’s been really good to get that experience.

“This morning that helped me a lot because it didn’t faze me, I was running with Elaine. I’ve done it a few times now. These girls are my idols and I’m just living the dream.”

Jessica Turner overcame injury challenges to reach the semi-final stage of the women’s 400m hurdles, where she finished seventh and was unable to make the final.

Turner (Nick Dakin, Amber Valley and Erewash) was met with teeming rain on her entrance to the stadium and battled through, finishing in a time of 1:00.36.

“I am proud to be here and happy I made the semi-finals but sad it had to end this way,” she said.

“I genuinely thought I had a shot at the final if I had run like I have been running all season.

“I went to plan B and it was going OK but then my achilles massively flared up and it never usually does.

“I’ve had such a dream season running fast times all throughout then when it mattered the most, I couldn’t manage it.”