Steve Lewis and injury-troubled Kate Dennison have staged a late rally to clear qualifying heights of 5.72 and 4.52m in the pole vault in Nevers, France, and effectively secure a place apiece on the British team for Istanbul in the dying phases of the selecion spell.

At the same time, burgeoning Katie Byres rocketed high over that latter height herself to demolish her own week-old UK U20 record by a massive 15cm, her third this winter, and land into Olympic qualifying territory.

In fact, Dennison already held the required standard courtesy of her PB of 4.61m in Barcelona last summer but needed to establish her fitness and form in only her second showing since a serious injury in Daegu, following a sole 4.34m mark in Villeurbanne last month.

Yet now that clearance comes to serve her purpose well, drawing her affairs back in order, and also back up her bid for a berth in London as a further Olympic qualifier for London this summer. Operating from only 12 strides also suggests that there is a lot more to come for that matter.

Katie Byres rockets over a new UK U20 record

Byres also matched the qualifying standard to become eligible for selection for Istanbul but selectors will probably go for experience in this case, medal or top six place potential particularly stressed in the respective policy of UK Athletics.

Further, losing out to Dennison even on countback will further weigh towards that direction as the two occupied the top two spots in the women’s main pool.

Nevertheless, she emerges as a serious contender for an Olympic berth in London herself, where Britain could very likely field three athletes in the women’s pole vault for the first time ever, as she is striding fast on the blazing trail of her star of a groupmate Holly Bleasdale.

On top of that, her 4.52m saw her soar into third in the global U20 all-time lists, indoors and outdoors combined, and a major medal hopeful at the World U20 Championships this summer, as well as third in the UK all-time rankings.

There were more landmarks lined up for the Brits on show as Sally Peake climbed over a big new total Welsh record of 4.42m for fifth to erase her own outdoor figure of 4.35m in Shenzhen, China, last summer. That also betters the B Olympic standard (4.40) but cannot count as such since the selection policy specifies that B qualifiers are acceptable from April 1 onwards.

Lewis, on the other hand, had been on a bumpy trail for quite a while but he will gain plenty of confidence out of his performance, second overall off a 16-stride-run up at that, as he returns into the 5.70s territory for the first time since an identical vault in Donetsk (Ukraine) back in March 2010.

For that matter, his UK-leading figure last night has not only earned him the right to selection for Istanbul but also a firm foothold in the mix for places in London, doubling as an Olympic A qualifier, at a time that young Andrew Sutcliffe, who had a rather off-day at only 5.26m this once, is ever-growing in stature.

Luke Cutts and Max Eaves also showed a gradual return to their best at the UK Trials last weekend to help set up a very competitive and robust run-up to the ultimate showpiece, yet everyone else will have to emulate Lewis if they want a share in the dream now.

Incidentally, the men’s competition in Nevers saw European champion Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) surge to the top of global affairs through an impressive first-time clearance over 5.93m, attempting three times at 6.05m in the wake.

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