Wimborne Athletic Club

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Wimborne has TWO British Masters Pole Vault Champions!

Trudi Carter reports from Lee Valley.

Despite having coached a range of athletes to national standards in different sports, neither David Pearson nor I had been in a National Championship with a realistic chance of an individual medal ourselves! The event was the British Masters Indoor Championship at Lee Valley stadium, 9th and 10th March 2013.

Unfortunately, they had split the pole vault into three pools. All the women aged 35-plus were in a pool with the men aged 60 and over. This was on the Saturday. On the Sunday were the ‘younger’ men and, as there were quite a number of these, they were divided into two groups with those vaulting over 3.60m being in Dave’s pool. This meant two trips up to North London, so Dave decided to enter the 60m sprint on the Saturday to keep him occupied!

As with all these competitions, things don’t go smoothly. The initial difficulty was that I had not received confirmation of my entry or, therefore, been sent the competitors’ final instructions. We also knew of another athlete who had not received her information and she had been told she was not vaulting ... was I ‘in’ or ‘out’. As I had put my entry in just after the closing date, I doubted that I was in. However, on arrival John, a Welsh vaulter, greeted me with a hug and the words, ‘ I saw your name in the programme’.

From then on the day brightened and I began to relax. In my pool there were about 15 vaulters with the lowest coming in at 1.30m. My warm up had gone well and our ‘new’ run up seemed to work well, however, due to the older athletes being in my pool it was over 1½ hours before I was to take my first vault. Anyone who knows me will realise how difficult this waiting around was for me. When I finally got to jump, I cleared the bar on my first attempt. I was the first to jump in that round and all of the other competitors watched me soar over the bar with a big clearance.

A big smile from Trudi Carter, British Masters’ gold medallist 2013

Up to this point I hadn’t really noticed the crowd, but the response to my vault reminded me of where I was - I think it must have had an effect on the other competitors too, as they failed that height. I had won the competition with one vault!

Meanwhile, Dave had been competing in the 60m sprint. Wow! They are remarkably fast. The winning time for the M45 (Dave’s category) was 7.42s. Dave finished third in his heat and narrowly missed out on reaching the final. A good day for us both.

Sunday and it was Dave’s vault. The vaulting community is a friendly one and generally athletes help each other out. Within a few minutes of warming up, Dave commented on how tense the atmosphere was and that  ‘I’ve got no one to talk too!’.

For his first full warm up vault, Dave had a pole that was a little too soft and ended up almost coming off the back of the landing area. (It would have been good to have had a photograph of that one!) Time to move up to a stiffer pole.

Dave Pearson, British Masters’ gold medallist 2013 in action

All seemed to go well and Dave started vaulting within about 30 minutes of the competition starting.  Allan Williams is an ex-national vaulter who was competing in the same British side as Daley Thompson. He was in Dave’s group and Dave’s closest rival. Vault for vault they were matching each other, but Dave won that battle and a gold medal!


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