Heartbreak for Team GB's Holly Bleasdale after pole vault disappointment

 

Holly Bleasdale's hopes for an Olympic pole vault medal ended in bitter disappointment as nerves appeared to get the better of her on the big stage.

The 20-year-old from Lancashire was on the verge of tears as she failed her third and final attempt at 4.55 metres, well below her best this summer of 4.71m.

She looked nervous as soon as she was introduced to the crowd and almost went out at 4.45m, needing three attempts to clear her opening height.

The 20-year-old from Lancashire was on the verge of tears as she failed her third and final attempt at 4.55m, well below her best this summer of 4.71m.

She looked nervous as soon as she was introduced to the crowd and almost went out at 4.45m, needing three attempts to clear her opening height.

Bleasdale was clearly fired up, punching the air with relief and delight when she finally cleared 4.45m.

But she was unable to steady herself from there, bailing out on her second attempt at the next height.

She said: "The conditions weren't great, it was really bad headwind.

"I'm really disappointed with how I did.

"I felt like I could have jumped around 4.70m but I struggled to cope with the conditions.

"I am trying to look at the positives and to finish in the top eight in my first Olympic final is pretty good, but I am just heartbroken with how it went today.

"I am only 20 and I feel like I could have performed well this year."

There was relief for Perri Shakes-Drayton in the 400m hurdles as she just made it through to the final as a fastest loser.

The east Londoner, joint second in the world rankings, clocked 55.19 seconds to finish third in her heat and it looked like that time would not be good enough only for a disqualification to send her through.

Eilidh Child went out, finishing seventh in 56.03secs.

Shakes-Drayton said: "I'm through, it's a bit emotional because I thought I was out. I've got a day's rest, and hopefully [I can] redeem myself and do something."

Child said: "My stride pattern didn't go to plan. I am gutted I never left it on the track. I have come off thinking I could have done a lot better.

"I got my strides wrong at hurdle three and from then on I was just trying to get it back."

Belarus' Nadzeya Ostapchuk won the first gold medal of the night, throwing 21.36m to become Olympic shot put champion.

The 31-year-old took the title from New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who had to settle for silver in 20.70m.

Russian Evgeniia Kolodko took the bronze with 20.48m.

PA

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