Women’s Pole Vault

The women’s pole vault was absolutely stacked! Ten athletes, including:

Katie Nageotte, World, and Olympic title holder.
Aikaterini Stefanidi, herself a former world and Olympic Champion
Sandi Morris, twice world indoor champion and 4-time outdoor championship silver medalist (and keeper of reptiles)*
Holly Bradshaw, Olympic medalist 2021 but who lost most of last season when a pole break caused an injury.
Wilma Murto, 2022 European Champion
Alysha Newman, 2018 Commonwealth Champion
Nina Kennedy, 2022 Commonwealth Champion and Diamond League winner
Tina Sutej, who never seems to have bad competition.

Let the action begin!  

Holly Bradshaw, photo by Martin Bateman

Sadly before the action began, Holly Bradshaw was gone.  She tweeted: “Had some Achilles & calf stiffness during the warm-ups meaning I didn’t feel confident to push on the run. I didn’t take the decision of pulling out lightly, but it was the right thing for today”.  She explained more to me later: “It is disappointing because it should have been my return to action after a year. It is no secret that I have had up-and-down Achilles problems throughout the years. I’ve just been on a training camp in Turkey, which was going really well, but then my Achilles flared up slightly. I’ve rested now for about 10 days, hoping it will be OK, but I just really couldn’t push off the start of my run today, and it felt like it was cramping, and I didn’t feel safe to run.  So I just thought, ‘I’ve competed through so much pain in my whole career, but at this point of my career, I’m not prepared to do that’. So the hard decision of pulling out is what I made today”. Holly is one of those athletes who is always ready to talk on good days or bad.

Wilma Murto of Finland in action during the ATHLETICS – WOMEN’S POLE VAULT FINAL at Olympiastadion during the European Championships 2022 on August 17, 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo: Daniel Kopatsch / Munich2022

Then we lost Wilma Murto with three failures at 4.45. Newman and Kennedy went at 4.55.  After 4.63, there were just three left, Morris, Nageotte, and Sutej, and only Morris had a perfect record. Nageotte cleared 4.76 at the first attempt. Sutej is at the second for a national record. Sandi Morris failed once and passed.  Only Nageotte cleared 4.81 for the win.

Katie Moon wins PV at USATF Indoors 2023, photo by Kevin Morris, all rights reserved.

Her official comment afterward was: “It’s a classic first Diamond League meeting, and I’m figuring it out and working my way through my poles. I’m really happy that I came in the 1st place. The crowd here is always unbelievable”.  

Katie Moon clears 4.83m WL, photo by Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais.

After chatting with her afterward, I suggested she spoiled the event by always winning! She replied: “I certainly don’t win all the time – if you saw any of last year, you know that you can’t take that for granted.  I’m really happy that tonight I was able to pull it out; you know it’s classic first meet – early in the season,  probably jet lag, and because of tendonitis in my foot, I’ve had a little bit of under-training the last couple of weeks. Rusty and figuring it out going bar by bar pole by pole”.

Sandi Morris, Women’s PV,
USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, June 23-26, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris

She said that she had been surviving on painkillers and advice from UST&F doctors but would have foot treatment this week. 

 Sandi Morris said that she was satisfied with 4.71 in her first competition since September 2022. Tina Sutej was delighted but a little surprised with her national record as she had “only jumped with smaller poles in training this year, so I did not know how it would go”.  Her final attempt at 4.81 was her 13th vault. She was encouraged by it, feeling that despite being tired, she got very close to clearing a second PR/NR height in one day.

The women’s PV competition will run and run this summer, culminating in the Worlds in Budapest.

*My computer is incapable of mentioning the name of Sandi Morris without referring to snakes, the monitor lizard, and her other “pets”.