Athletics - Bleasdale sets world lead to win European indoor trials

Holly Bleasdale has her sights set on jumping even higher still after setting a stadium record and world leading mark to book a trip to the European Indoor Championships at the trials in Sheffield.

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Holly Bleasdale (Imago)

Bleasdale had already cleared the European indoor qualifying mark of 4.50m prior to arriving in the Steel City having jumped 4.62m in her first event of 2013 and then 4.75m in Moscow last week.

All the 21-year-old needed to do to earn a ticket to Gothenburg was finish in the top two but she did much more than that after producing a record-breaking gold-medal winning leap of 4.77m.

That was the highest ever mark recorded at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and the best in the world so far this year, bettering the effort of 4.76m from Olympic champion Jenn Suhr.

And Bleasdale, who won world indoor bronze last year, now has her eyes firmly fixed on gold at the European Indoor Championships in Sweden next month and potentially an even higher jump to go with it.

"I'm really happy with that. It's nice to have to have the highest jump in the world so far this year," said Bleasdale.

"Now that I am consistently getting 4.70s and 4.80s, I know that I can definitely jump higher as I build up my competition.

"I feel really confident, the most positive I've ever been. I don't see why I can't medal at both of the European indoors and World Championships in the summer.

"I will definitely be going to Gothenburg with the aim of winning the gold medal."

Asha Philip set another stadium record in the women's 60m final at the European Indoor Trials & UK Championships after clocking a blistering time of 7.15seconds with Annabelle Lewis and Anyika Onuora finishing second and third.

Philip was thrilled afterwards with the performance securing her a trip to Gothenburg and she confirmed she is aiming for the podium too with her injury woes a thing of the past.

"I'm ecstatic. I thought I had it [the stadium record] in the semi-final but I just missed it. The plan was to go for 7.20 in the semis and go hard in the final and that's exactly what I did," said Philip.

"I've been working my socks off to come back from breaking my leg and I'm happy that I am back on top of my game and I plan to stay that way."

James Dasaolu won the men's 60m final in a personal best time of 6.58 for a European indoor place after veteran Dwain Chambers withdrew prior to the event through injury.

Matthew Burton edged out Chris Tomlinson in the men's long jump with a new personal best of 7.94m but that is still short of the European indoor qualifying mark.

Gianni Frankis won the men's 60m hurdles in a time of 7.73 after favourite Andrew Pozzi ruled himself out of the final with an injury.

David Bishop produced a season's best time of 8:06.98minutes to win the men's 3000m, with Tom Humphries and Philip Hurst finishing second and third respectively.

Emma Perkins justified her favourite status with victory in the women's high jump with a season's best of 1.81m.

Tosin Oke won the men's triple jump with a season's best of 16.87m, just 0.13m shy of the European indoor mark while Rachel Wallader took gold in the women's shot-put.

Elsewhere Eilidh Child laid down a marker to fellow finalists in the women's 400m as she broke the Scottish recording winning her semi-final in a personal best time of 52.06.

"I'll go back and get a good night's sleep and hopefully I can do even better," she said. "It's going to be a tough race again but I think I can go quicker, I'm confident."

Mukhtar Mohammed was the quickest qualifier for the 800m final as was Alison Leonard in the women's equivalent and Charlie Grice and Laura Muir in the men's and women's 1500m heats respectively.

Meanwhile in the men's 400m Nigel Levine heads into the finals as the fastest from the heats but will face stiff competition from Richard Strachan, Richard Buck and Michael Bingham.

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