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UK Athletics

inaugural 2014 vault britain series deemed a success

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Harry Coppell
11 March 2014

The name says it all really; a series of pole vault only competitions throughout the UK, with the sole aim of helping pole vaulters reach their potential.  The series came to an end last weekend in Manchester, with an overriding feeling that this new initiative, which is in its first year, was a resounding success. With all three competitions in London, Cardiff and Manchester full within a day of entries opening, and over 240 vaulters taking part, you can hardly argue. Throw in more than ninety personal bests and the series speaks for itself.

The overall series titles were decided based on each athletes best two performances from the three events, with Nick Cruchley (coach: Scott Simpson) and Rachel Gibbens taking the prize money in the senior events, and Harry Coppell (John Mitchell) and Georgia Pickles (Matt Cullen) winning the under-20 competitions.

Alan Richardson, British Athletics Event Group Lead for Jumps and Combined Events, said of the series:

"The Vault Britain series has provided a great stepping stone for British pole vaulting to improve and challenge the world’s best, as well as offering wonderful opportunity to increase participation levels in the event. 2014 has seen the best ever performances in a number of age groups and this has been supported by the three high quality events that have taken place in London, Cardiff and Manchester. Each event has provided competitors with a lively and fun competitive environment, designed to maximise the performance of all athletes. 

"I hope to see the series grow in future years and believe that as well as the support of British Athletics and England Athletics coaches, these competition opportunities can see pole vaulting in Britain grow both in performance levels and participation numbers"

On behalf of the British Athletics Supporters club, who sponsored the under-20 age group prizes, Jon Mason said:

"The British Athletics Supporters Club is delighted to have sponsored the inaugural Vault Britain series.  All three events were oversubscribed and the quality of vaulting across all age groups was first-rate.  The Vault Britain series and British pole vaulting can only go from strength to strength."

He also made a presentation last weekend at Vault Manchester to Harry Coppell who for the second year running won the BASC Young athlete of the year.

Vault London - January

Nearly one hundred vaulters took part in the Vault London event with many personal bests being broken. Event organiser, Allan Williams, said:

"I am immensely proud of what Vault London has done for pole vaulting in the region over the last eight years. It has encouraged new young talent to take up pole vaulting and provided great competition opportunities for established vaulters too. Now that it is part of the Vault Britain Series I look forward to seeing even more people benefit from the conducive conditions as our event grows and expands."

Vault Cardiff - February

Eighty competitors ventured west to Cardiff to compete in the second event of the series with the highlight being the performance for 15 year old Joel Leon Benitez (Alan Richardson) from Notts AC, who improved his PB to 4.81m extending his lead at the top of the Power of Ten under-17 rankings.

Vault Manchester – March

Held for the ninth time at Sport City, Manchester, the event was without last years' winners Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) and Holly Bleasdale (Simpson) who were at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot. This opened the door for Nick Cruchley and Sally Peake (Simpson) to take victories, in fields that were boosted by international opposition from Holland and Switzerland. The highlight of the day however was 16 year old Adam Hague's (Fox) 5.28m personal best.  There were a total of thirty five PB’s on the day, a record for Vault Manchester, with the event also raising nearly £600 for Sport Relief.

Andy Byres, Vault Manchester and Vault Britain organiser said:

"The inaugural Vault Britain Series has seen three great competitions. Thanks must go to all the vaulters, coaches, parents, officials, sponsors and organisers who made these events special and so enjoyable for everyone who attended them. The relaxed atmosphere and fun environments at all these competitions has helped produced some great vaulting and results."

For further info please head to: www.vaultbritain.com