Determined Isobel Pooley lost her British No.1 rank after being stunned by her biggest rival in Sheffield – and then cried: ‘Bring it on’.
The Fleet ace watched in awe after heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson smashed the 17-year high jump British record with a leap of 1.96m to take gold at the British Indoor Championships.
And Pooley, who jumped a season’s best 1.87m – the same height as rival Jayne Nesbit – to take the bronze medal, admitted she welcomed the competition to push her towards her main aim of 2014, to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s fantastic for British high jumping,” Pooley said. “For years the women we have been in the shadow of the men but to have three British women jumping 1.87m or over is great for the sport and I’m just delighted to be a part of that.
“I’m delighted for Katarina, she's an amazing athlete and such a lovely person, and now she’s raised the bar, so to speak, for the likes of myself and Jayne to follow.
“Having such competition is good for me, it gives you extra drive throughout the season and it’s nice to have some company at the bigger heights.”
Pooley’s bronze medal is the high point of a slowish start to the indoor season for the AFD athlete, but the 20-year-old insists she is still on target for a successful campaign outdoors in the spring where she will ultimately look to break her personal best leap of 1.90m.
She added: “Competing on the Moravia High Jump Tour in the Czech Republic has really made me realise how far I’ve got to go and how great the rewards are for getting there. It was a real inspiration.
“I had to work hard for my bronze medal at the weekend and with these other girls raising their game I know what I have to do to fulfil those dreams. I’m really pleased though because I missed the indoor season last year through injury and it’s really important to build a base for the outdoor season.”
Pooley now has three indoor events remaining to try and break the 1.94m mark needed to qualify for the World Indoor Championships in Poland next month, starting this weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she goes head-to-head with double world champion Blanka Vlasic.