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pooley looking to build on a successful 2012

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Isobel Pooley

Birmingham-based high jumper Isobel Pooley has set her sights on Rio 2016 and the 2017 World Championships, as she looks to build on a breakthrough 2012 which included a personal best of 1.90m, just one centimetre behind Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Jess Ennis on the UK list last year.

Pooley said: “My perspective is quite distant at the moment, I’m thinking of a four year plan, building up to Rio and the 2017 World Championships. There’s the potential to go the World Championships in Moscow, which would involve a 1.92m clearance, but I think that’s something I’m more than capable of. But I know it’s down to me to put that performance together on the day.”

The Fuzz Ahmed-trained athlete’s lifetime best of 1.90m came at the Bedford International Games last year, and she returned to Bedford on Monday clearing 1.84m in her first appearance of the outdoor season after an injury interrupted few months. Despite her spell spent on the sidelines, the 20 year old believes the time out has had a positive impact on her progress.

“2013 has been an interesting year for me, with respect to the fact that I was injured a large part of the beginning of the year. I had a stress reaction in my shin, which took its time to heal. I have only been training for the last month, but I used my time out to concentrate mentally and get myself in a good frame of mind for when I returned to training. It’s made me come back as a more collective athlete.”

“It was great to go back to Bedford again, as it’s probably the fondest memory of my career. There was no expectation or pressure on the day, but the crowd cottoned on to the fact that I was on to something good. As a result I jumped 1.90m and a personal best, which qualified me for my first senior Great Britain appearance at the European Championships. No one was expecting it – I wasn’t expecting it, so I was absolutely chuffed to bits.”

Pooley, who finished second behind Ennis at last summer’s Olympic Trials, believes that having the opportunity to train alongside an experienced group in Birmingham under the tutelage of Ahmed has been integral to her rise up the rankings.

“Fuzz’s influence has been huge. Moving to university 18 months ago and changing my training group and environment was a really turbulent time for me. But being in a group with some of the best athletes like Robbie (Grabarz), you have to think how fantastic it is to have his influence every day at training. It’s a gift and an inspiration for free every day, and great to have older athletes whose experience I can draw on and sidestep the issues that they encountered.”

Pooley is now focused on making the smooth transition between training and competition, and is confident that if she can put the pieces together, 2013 will be another great year.

“My goal is to jump in competitions as I have been in training. I’ve got a glimpse now of what I’d be capable of if I continue to work with Fuzz and build on the techniques that he’s shown me. It’s then my job to put that together into performance at big championships, so to perform on the big day is what it’s about for me.

You can follow Isobel on her journey by following her on Twitter via @IsobelPooley 

Tickets for the Sainsbury’s Summer Series are now available, visit www.britishathletics.org.uk for more information.