Sophie Cook claims emotional British pole vault win

A car crash almost ended the Birchfield vaulter’s athletics dreams but her comeback has led to national gold in Glasgow

After a car accident three years ago, Sophie Cook was told that she would never vault again. But last summer she secured British Championships silver before going one better in the national indoor pole vault final in Glasgow this weekend, getting gold with an emotional personal best performance.

Entering the competition at 4.15m, Cook went clear at that height on her second try to secure herself a medal, with her club-mate Tilly Hooper and Edinburgh’s Courtney MacGuire the two other athletes left in the contest at that point.

From there, Cook was competing alone, with the 4.00m clearances by Hooper and MacGuire proving to be their best to secure them silver and bronze respectively.

Cook, who works as a physio to support her athletics, then cleared 4.25m at the first time of asking before vaulting 4.35m on her second go.

With a previous best of 4.46m set this winter, the 25-year-old had the bar raised to 4.50m which she soared over first time before three unsuccessful attempts at 4.55m.

“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet,” said Cook, who shed tears of joy after reaching new heights.

“4.50m is a bit of a benchmark height that I’ve really wanted for a long time. To do it at a championships here with an incredible crowd, it was an amazing experience and one I won’t forget.”

The Scott Simpson-coached athlete, who is a training partner of British record-holder Holly Bradshaw in Loughborough, added: “When I had the car accident they said I would never pole vault again. This (pole vault) is something I’ve always wanted to do so we put everything into it and I’m really glad that we did.

“I didn’t expect to be here (competing at this level) at one point but from putting all that hard work in it just shows that it does pay off and it’s worth it.”

» Click here to read more about the other women’s events on the first day of the SPAR British Indoor Championships in Glasgow. A men’s events report can be found here

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