Euxton pole vault ace Holly Bradshaw is convinced that her best days as an athlete are still firmly ahead of her.
It has been seven long years since the former Parklands High School pupil sent shock waves around the world when she cleared 4.87m at an indoor meeting in Villeurbanne, France.
That mark was, at the time, the third best jump of all time indoors – and has only been bettered by seven other women.
Aged just 20 back then in 2012, Bradshaw was widely tipped to become the sport’s next big thing.
While she has accomplished plenty in the meantime, such as winning the European Indoor Championships in 2013, she has yet to secure that really big career-defining moment.
During two Olympic Games – in London and Rio de Janeiro – Bradshaw finished outside of the medals.
And it is a similar tale at the World Championships where her best is a sixth-place finish in London in 2017.
Injuries have certainly hindered Bradshaw over the years, but now aged 27, she believes she is approaching the peak of her powers.
At last weekend’s British Indoor Championships, she scaled 4.80m off a 12-step run-up.
In 2017, she improved her outdoor best to 4.81m and cleared a centimetre short of that mark on a number of
occasions last year.
With the European Indoor Championships coming up next month, followed by a summer of competition culminating in the World Outdoor Championships in Doha in October, Bradshaw is full of optimism.
“It’s like a little joke which goes around my training environment that 4.87m is my personal best and that was seven years ago,” said Bradshaw, who also earned a bronze medal at the
World Indoor Championships in 2012 .
“It’s difficult to explain how different of an athlete I now am. I am way better than I was when I jumped 4.87m.
“I still feel like my best is still ahead of me.
“There is no way I would be still doing this sport if I didn’t think like that.
“I know I am way better, it’s just that with the injuries I have had, I’ve not been able to put together the type of training that allows me to get faster and stronger – to be able to go on bigger poles to jump higher heights.
“But now I feel like I am in that position, so it is all very positive moving forward.”
Holly Bradshaw visited The Ticket Factory offices in Birmingham, who were announced as British Athletics’ new official ticketing supplier. Tickets for British Athletics outdoor season, including the Müller Anniversary Games at London Stadium, go on sale 27th February at www.theticketfactory.com.