Isobel Pooley reclaimed her place at the top of British women's high jumping and warned her rivals: “Now I’m here to stay.”
The Fleet athlete was crowned Britain's No.1 on Saturday (June 28) after leaping to gold in the Sainsbury’s British Championships at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, with a winning height of 1.90m.
And it was a victory which threw down the gauntlet to heptathlete pair Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake - both who have better personal bests than Pooley, but will concentrate on the five-event discipline at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Aldershot, Farnham & District athlete put herself in serious gold medal contention with five perfect jumps at 1.74m, 1.78m, 1.82m, 1.86m and 1.90m, while her rivals lagged behind.
Lake exited the competition at 1.86m for a bronze medal before Johnson-Thompson failed three times at 1.90m, leaving Pooley the last one standing.
“Winning this means so much to me, it’s still sinking in to be honest,” the delighted 21-year-old said.
“With so much media attention surrounding the heptathletes, it was about credibility and status and finally stamping my authority on British high jumping.
“The hepathletes are so formidable and beating them ‘caused an upset’ apparently, but with them not competing in the Commonwealth Games and me looking to put a very disappointing European Team Championships performance behind me, it was the ideal chance for me to take centre stage and prove myself before the Commonwealth Games.
“I knew I was a class performer too and thankfully I came out on top. Now, the aim for me is to stay there.”
But despite her precious victory, Pooley admitted to a tinge of disappointment after ending the competition with three failures at 1.93m – two centimetres higher than her personal best and the all-important qualification mark set by the UKA for the 2014 European Championships in Zurich in August.
Pooley now only has two more chances to hit her target before the July 14 selection deadline - the Cork City Games next week and the Glasgow Grand Prix, a warm-up event held at the centrepiece of the Games, Hampden Park.
“That's the thing with high jump, it always ends in disappointment,” she added.
“Winning with a jump of 1.93m would have capped a perfect weekend for me. For now though, the two-week countdown continues."