Stuart Weir walked through a monsoon-like rain, and other weather conditions in wonderful Manchester, England, last weekend. Stuart is also prone to puns, and his “Over the Moon description” will make US pole vaulter Katie Moon, whom Stuart knows well, smile from ear to ear.
The British championships in Manchester have a good track record for pole vaulting. It was in Manchester in 2021 that Holly Bradshaw cleared 4.90m a year after Harry Coppell cleared 5.85m, the two current national records.
Molly Cadrey and Holly Bradshaw warm up in Manchester, photo by Getty Images for British Athletics.
This year provided another really exciting women’s pole vault competition. Holly Bradshaw said in Lausanne that people did not believe her when she said in Lausanne that she was satisfied with 4.50m. But that was the truth. After suffering a serious injury from a freak accident in Oregon, falling awkwardly when a pole snapped in the warm-up at the world champs, she was raring to go in 2023 only to have an Achilles problem. She followed 4.50m in Lausanne with 4.60m in Manchester, commenting, “It was a good event, I’ve had a rough three months with an Achilles injury, so I’m in the middle of getting back to full competition fitness and progressing through my routine, but to come here and jump 4.61m, I’m over the moon”. [Over the moon is a UK idiom for being happy – not a reference to the Olympic and World Champion, Katie Moon].
Holly Bradshaw, MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Holly Bradshaw of Blackburn competes during the Women’s Pole Vault Final during Day One of the UK Athletics Championships at Manchester Regional Arena on July 08, 2023, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)
Holly also explained her position with regard to the World Champs: “Today was all about getting 4.61m which I achieved. I have a street meeting in Germany next week and the London Diamond League. I have the B standard, so as long as I don’t have no height in my next two events, I’m off to worlds, which a month ago was unlikely. To be here and jump what I did it’s an amazing feeling”.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JULY 08: Molly Caudery of Thames Valley competes during the Women’s Pole Vault Final during Day One of the UK Athletics Championships at Manchester Regional Arena on July 08, 2023, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond – British Athletics/British Athletics via Getty Images)
The winner of the competition was Molly Caudery, who trains with Holly. Going into the competition with a PR of 4.60m, she jumped 4.61m and 4.71m to register two PRs. She said: “It is unbelievable; it really hasn’t sunk in. After 11 months of rehab following two-foot surgeries, getting two PBs here and the world standard is really exciting and exciting. It was even raining when I jumped that 4.71m, so I feel there is more to come. All the hard work is paying off. I love training with Holly (Bradshaw) at Loughborough, and it was great that she got what she needed today as well. I am so excited for the world now, and I really hope to be able to get to the final there”.
My only disappointment was that Jade Ive could only manage 4.15 and fourth. In Poland last month, I had watched Ive leap to two PRs, 4.40 and 4.50. But that this week. But it is great to see three GB pole vaulters in form.