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Steve Lewis
Lewis - third time lucky at 5.65m


20 August 2009

On Thursday morning at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany –the Aviva GB and NI team were cheered by performances from Steve Lewis (Pole vault) and Michael Rimmer (800m).

The men’s pole vault qualifying featured two British entries in Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex) and Luke Cutts (Dearnside).

Lewis cleared his opening height of 5.40m easily before failing first time over 5.55m. However he re-grouped mentally and cleared it at his second effort. With qualifying taking its toll on much of the field it soon appeared that a 5.65m clearance would guarantee a place in Saturday’s final.

However on Lewis’s first attempt he suffered a minor emergency before finally going over the height on his third attempt. He explained soon after:

“On the first attempt at 5.65m I’d switched my poles, so I put the tip of one pole onto the new one and it was really loose and then when I ran down it felt out. I saw it fall and I thought ‘oh no!’ – I ran back and tried to tape it back on but I didn’t have enough time and I was watching the clock. I was just running down there thinking this is going to be in the bag when it came off, then it messed with my rhythm for the second one so I was just pleased to get it out the way on my third.

“It has never happened before and I thought ‘I don’t need this right now’ but I got it really stuck on the last one and it’s fine.

“Looking at the final I think Steve Hooker and Renaud (Lavillenie FRA) have been jumping really well but in the pole vault anything can happen.”

It was a less successful session for Cutts, appearing in his first senior championship. He had a solid clearance at 5.25m before stuttering slightly with a first time failure at 5.40m. But on his second attempt he sailed over. However 5.55m proved to be his undoing and he left the competition at the qualifying stage.

“Things just didn’t go as I wanted them to go. It’s been good to jump with some big vaulters out there – back in England there aren’t too many of those around.” He said.

“I’ll take away from this that I can train a bit more and improve on things and I know what to expect next time. The World Indoors next year is my target now thought I’ve got Europeans and Commonwealths to go for too.

“I’m happy to be here although I’ve gone out and jumped a bit rubbish but I’m here. In 2012 I’ll be there.”

In the men’s 800 heats Michael Rimmer (Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton) made it through to Friday night’s semi final, having been inspired watching training partner Jenny Meadows take the bronze medal the previous evening.

Despite getting boxed in at 200m to go, his gamble that the inside lane would remain open worked and he moved up the inside, holding off the fast finishing field and securing an automatic qualifying slot in third position with 1:48.20.

“I’m pleased. It was touch and go all the way. I could feel them inching towards me at the end there,”   he recalled. “It was fine. I got myself boxed quite badly but thought I just needed to go out there and qualify. Watching Jenny and the other girls – just qualify. It doesn’t matter what happens as long as you qualify and get through.

“It was quite a weird race, it went round really quick, lots of little changes of pace but I can’t complain. It was a really tough, on paper it was an unbelievably tough heat, and four people have run faster than me so I’m pleased.

“I was just thinking ‘hold my form’ rather than worrying about what was coming behind me because people can nip you on the line. Just try and focus on the line not on the people behind – you can’t do anything about them anyway so just focus on yourself... although I did have a sneaky little look at the screen at the end!

“My expectations are different to last two years – just take each round as it comes – execute my tactics the best I can, get myself in a decent position with 200m to go and keep strong.”

Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers) takes part in hammer qualifying later this afternoon.