European bronze medal for Euxton pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw

Euxton pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw led the charge for Great Britain at the European Championships in Berlin as she leaped her way to a bronze medal.

Holly Bradshaw
Holly Bradshaw

The 26-year-old athlete hit her mark with her first two jumps and cleared 4.75m at the third attempt to take third place at the major Championships.

Silver and bronze both went to Greece, with Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou hitting 4.80m and Ekaterini Stefanidi setting a new Championships record at 4.85m.

The Lancashire athlete has competed at two Olympics, the World Championships and Commonwealth Games but was delighted to claim a first senior outdoor medal.

“I’m very happy,” said Bradshaw. “I knew it would be a battle trying to get one of the medals, there was obviously two standout favourites but I knew bronze would be up for grabs.

“In the end I managed to get it, I felt like I jumped really well, it’s my first outdoor medal not as a junior or an under-23 so I’m really happy with that.

“It was my first Europeans so I didn’t really know what to expect, it just felt like it was a worlds or an Olympics.

“The standard of the field was so good and all those girls are probably the top seven that I’d see in a world or Olympic final.

“I felt really calm, I was just having fun and trying to focus on myself and clearing that bar!”

Bradshaw, the British women’s record holder, was the only member of the team to make it into the final after compatriots Lucy Bryan and Molly Caudery failed to make it through qualifying on Tuesday.

Bradshaw recorded a season’s best clearance of 4.80m at Jockgrim last month and couldn’t hit that mark, but is in hugely impressive form after injury struggles in recent years.

She added: “It’s the first time in four years that I’ve been able to put a whole year of training in because I’ve not had injury or surgery.

“I felt really confident, I felt I could build it this year and my vaulting is definitely better than it’s ever been.

“To come away with a medal means so much to me because of my struggles over the last couple of years, this season’s definitely been one of my best and to have this now is just fabulous.”

Bradshaw will now enjoy her success but on Friday another Lancashire track and field star – Sophie Hitchon – fires into action in the hammer qualifying.

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