Holly Bradshaw is returning to a competition where she has a happy history as she gears up for the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
The two-time Olympic pole-vaulter took gold in Gothenburg in 2013 and is aiming for similar success in Scotland.
She secured her qualification for the championship with a 4.80m leap at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham earlier this month.
And the Loughborough-based athlete believes a similar display could see her on the podium when she takes on Europe’s best.
“I’d say my ceiling is probably around 4.80m, which is good enough to win a medal at the Europeans and that’s why I’m still going for it,” Bradshaw said.
“In a competition environment on a good day I can jump between 4.70-4.80, however while I’m an optimist I’m not stupid with it. I can’t jump 4.90 or 5 metres from 12 steps.
“I’ve won the European Indoors and I’ve won a medal at a European event outdoors, now I need to step up and I need to win a medal at a World Championships or an Olympics.”
Really excited to be competing at my 2nd European Indoors after such a long time! ??
*If you didn’t already realise how long ago 2013 was, just take a look at this pic ?
?? Excited to be part of a strong GB team heading into Glasgow ?? pic.twitter.com/805maeAJql
— Holly Bradshaw (@HollyBradshawPV) February 19, 2019
Bradshaw’s adjusted technique whenever competing indoors is part of a wider plan as she aims for a first major outdoor medal.
This winter she has spent time trying to improve her speed, which is already showing in her indoor form.
She hopes the adjustments will help springboard her to a medal at the World Championships in Doha in September.
“I feel faster and stronger,” Bradshaw said.
“One of the main aims for this year is to be faster on the run and that has shown in the last couple of training sessions.
“In Loughborough we’re lucky to have access to mechanical support so they can test how fast I am on the run, and although I’m only running 12 steps it’s faster than my full approach was a couple of years ago.
“Being able to do that in a competition environment from a full approach is how I’m going to jump above 4.90m and win a medal in Doha, so this indoor season for me is really important to be able to keep the speed from the shorter approach with the jump.”
4⃣8⃣ athletes ?
1⃣8⃣ British champions ?
9⃣ Scots on home soil ???????
5⃣ European Indoor champions ?
1⃣ superb occasion ?
— Glasgow 2019 Athletics (@Glasgow2019) February 17, 2019
But first there are six meets the pole-vaulter has lined up on home turf, including Diamond League meetings in London and Birmingham, as well as the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
And Bradshaw feels competing in front of a home crowd at the Emirates Arena will bring out the best in her.
“I think it’s just fab,” she said. “I’m one of those people that just steps up in front of a British crowd.
“The noise and the atmosphere is insane. What’s important to me is British fans coming to watch our events and get behind us.
“It makes a massive difference. It really elevates when you get a clap together in the pole vault, it makes you step up.
“You don’t get that when you go to some of the other European events, they don’t really understand but the British crowd get it.”