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UK Athletics

blog spot: uka futures progamme - julien raffalli

Katie Byres
Julien Raffalli's pole vault group in Manchester - including Katie Byres - are now well into their winter training

27 October 2011

Julien Raffalli is coach to Katie Byres, the UK’s second-best-equal under-20 pole vaulter in the All-Time rankings behind her training partner Holly Bleasdale, also coached by Raffalli, who is the UK senior record holder and 2011 European Under-23 Champion.

Watch out for more blogs from UKA Futures Programme coaches on www.uka.org.uk


Blog Spot: UKA Futures Progamme - Julien Raffalli

User AvatarPosted by Site Administrator at 27/10/2011 1:13:00 PM

Hi guys :-)

It’s that time of the year again where I look back at the summer and consider what went wrong and what I’m pleased with, but more importantly it’s the start of the winter training for my squad.

This summer was pretty full on, with three of my athletes getting involved in their different ways:

Katie Byres, who’s on the UKA Futures Programme, set a new PB of 4.20m in Mannheim before she went to the European U20 Champs in Tallinn (Estonia) where she finished in an agonising fourth place. Following that we started using a new run up (16 steps) and only had one practice session before she finished fifth at the Aviva World Trials and UK Senior Champs.

Andrew Sutcliffe - for those who wondered why he didn’t compete this summer - was very busy with his post knee surgery rehab. He landed awkwardly on the pole vault bed at Sportcity (Manchester), dislocated his patella and tore his medial patella-femoral ligament. The surgeon’s prognosis was that Andy would be out of action for between 4 and 6 months, and with the help of the physios and all the staff at EIS Manchester, Andrew started vaulting again in early August. He’s now in full swing so let’s keep our fingers crossed for the continued good progress of last year’s World Junior Championships bronze medallist in Canada.

Last but not least, Holly Bleasdale...

She had a fantastic summer where the highlight was the new British record when she vaulted 4.70m in Mannheim (I am now in love with this venueJ!). She was the clear favourite for the European U23 Champs in Ostrava where she won Britain’s first ever gold medal in pole vault in a major international championship. Despite a nasty wind during the competition, she also nearly broke the Championship record which belongs to Yelena Isinbayeva.

She then won the Aviva World Trials and UK Senior Champs before heading out to Daegu with the Aviva GB & NI team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get time off work (which I guess was a good thing for Katie, Andy and the other guys in my group back home), so Holly had to face her first major senior championship without her coach. The long season caught up with her, and she was unable to clear her first height during the qualification stage.

All the emotion has now come down. Katie, Andy and Holly have started their preparation for London 2012. They are all taking a year off education to solely focus on the Olympics. They have a long and difficult route ahead, and I feel blessed to be able to share their journey.

Will keep you posted soon,

Thanks for reading


The UKA Futures Programme underpins the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and was borne out of the restructure of UKA’s WCPP and the drive towards more targeted support for athletes and their coaches.

The Programme targets young athletes with the potential to deliver global medals for Britain in the future.

Athletes and their coaches will be supported in their individual development plans allowing for more flexibility and individual discretion around distribution of resources. 28 coach-athlete pairs have been included in the 2010/11 Futures Programme.