London 2012: Beagle Lewis vaults himself into medal contention

14:44 26 July 2012

Newham & Essex Beagles Steve Lewis competes in pole vault for Team GB

Newham & Essex Beagles Steve Lewis competes in pole vault for Team GB

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Pole vaulter Steve Lewis smashes the British record just a couple of weeks before the Olympic Games.

»Newham & Essex Beagle Steve Lewis pulled himself into Olympic medal contention after he broke the 14-year-old British pole vault record in Poland on Saturday.

The 26-year-old produced the best leap of his life as he surpassed Nick Buckfield’s previous record of 5.80metres set back in 1998, with a 5.82m clearance at the 58th Janusza Kusocinskiego memorial meeting.

That jump was enough for Lewis to win the event and, even more pleasing for the Dan Pfaff trained athlete, was the high class field he was able to defeat.

He managed to see off the challenge of both the reigning Olympic champion in the shape of Australia’s Steve Hooker and World champion Pawel Wojciechowski.

The 5.82m jump, the fifth highest in the world this year, has long been in the sights of Lewis and he couldn’t hide his delight at the leap just a fortnight before the qualifying rounds at the Games in London.

“Jumping 5.82m has been a goal of mine for four years. To achieve it in my last competition before the Olympic Games is amazing,” he said.

“I am excited to join all my team-mates now in Portugal and start preparing for the Games. It’s going to be a big three weeks physically, mentally and emotionally. I can’t wait.”

Meanwhile, fellow Beagle Robbie Grabarz was once again back to his best at the weekend in the Diamond League meeting in Monte Carlo on Friday.

The European champion equalled his third best jump of the season of 2.33m in the meeting, but lost on countback to World champion Jesse Williams from the United States.

Only a week before he produced a leap of just 2.22m in the Diamond League meeting in London but looked back to his best in Monaco, which left the 24-year-old content.

“It’s great to be finding my feet again,” said Grabarz.

“I’m in great shape and I just can’t wait for the Games now. It shows my training’s working and I’ve got my head back where it needed to be. With two more weeks of preparation I’m going to be even better.”

Chris Tomlinson was also in Monaco at the weekend and the 30-year-old produced a jump of 8.01m for the third spot, with Panama’s reigning Olympic champion Irving Saladino jumping a season’s best of 8.16m to win the event, with Australia’s Mitchell Watt second on 8.12m.

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