Holly Bleasdale relishing role as a pantomime villain

Pole vaulter aiming to beat Poland's home favourite Anna Rogowska at World Indoors

Holly Bleasdale cuts an unlikely villain. The 22-year-old pole vaulter, who understatedly describes her job as "flinging myself over a bar with a stick", could hardly be more bubbly and affable.

But there is a possibility that Bleasdale will be public enemy No 1 in Poland if she upsets home hopes at this week's World Indoors. Anna Rogowska could not be much more of a home favourite having been born in Gdynia, barely a few pole lengths up the coast from host city Sopot, plus there is the fact she is ranked No 1 in the world and the expectation is that she will come away with gold.

It's hard to imagine Bleasdale having previous with anyone but she and her Polish rival have exactly that – dating back to last year's European Indoor Championships when they finished tied for first. The athletes were given the option to share the gold or go for a jump-off. Rogowska went for the former but Bleasdale pushed for the latter from which she came away with the gold.

A year on, she is unapologetic and would do the same again even if it means upsetting the home supporters.

"Last year she wanted to share the gold and I refused. I wanted to fight for it and beat her," says Bleasdale.

"That's the fire in me. I'm surprised that she didn't want to fight for the gold. It showed to me that she was weak in that situation. I'd rather have got silver than shared gold. I'm such a fighter and competitor that I don't want to share gold with someone.

"I want to fight for the gold for my own and I was ready to risk losing that. I felt really confident. I knew that she was done and tired, psychologically a bit weak. It paid off."

That past encounter, not to mention the home support, will be a driving factor for Rogowska, who Bleasdale admits might still have a certain amount of acrimony towards her.

"I think she was a little bit upset," she adds. "I could tell she wasn't happy. But I wanted to win gold for GB and not win it joint with Poland. This time, there's going to be quite a few girls going for the gold and obviously Anna's not going to win the gold if other people do. That inspires me to take her down even more."

The pole vault will enjoy something of a novelty at these championships of being the showpiece event in Sopot, the noise inside the 10,000-seater Ergo Arena expected to be defeaning, although Bleasdale insists she is so focused she cannot even hear someone shouting her name in her ear. Back and Achilles problems effectively wiped out her 2013 season after claiming European Indoor gold. She describes having to miss out on last year's World Championships as "heartbreaking" but has been vaulting consistently over the 4.70m mark this season.

Bleasdale is undeniably one of the British team's best shots of gold. It is the sole goal she aspires to, even if it means leaving Sopot vilified by a disgruntled Polish public.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick