Everywhere Sophie Ashurst looks she is surrounded by world-class pole vaulters.

The 19-year-old, from Sale, is currently coached by Kate Rooney in Loughborough but always has the shoulder of father and Commonwealth medallist Andy Ashurst to lean on.

Following a sixth-place finish at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships this summer, Ashurst now has her eyes set on equalling her dad’s achievements by qualifying for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

And with a wealth of international pole vaulters at her fingertips, she is spoilt for choice when it comes to advice.

She said: “Because of my dad and his experience at the Commonwealth Games, that’s definitely the event I’m most focused on.

“At Loughborough, Kate is my main coach and we have an amazing group. We literally call it the pole vault hub and the training environment is amazing, being with so many high quality pole vaulters.

“I mainly train with Ellie McCartney but we sometimes do sessions with Holly Bradshaw, Molly Caudery and Sophie Cook. I am always learning from the best of the best and one day I want to be doing the same as them.”

At the U20 World Championships this summer, Ashurst was honoured to lead the British contingent out as captain, feeling the pressure to perform as a leader.

But the Loughborough University student enjoyed the added scrutiny, pushing her over the 4.05m barrier and into the pole vault final.

“Being captain I definitely felt like there was a lot more pressure. It felt like more people were watching me,” she said.

“In the qualifying, I only made the final on my last attempt and I felt like since I was captain of the team I had to make it otherwise people would be disappointed with me. But it was an amazing experience being able to captain that team and people feeling like they could come to me for advice.”

Ashurst has her sights on a busy indoor season in 2023, with the senior British Indoor Championships in February.

But following a hip flexor injury last summer, the pole vaulter is taking a different approach to this season’s competitive circuit.

She said: “For outdoors, all eyes are on Under-23 Europeans in Finland and aiming to qualify for that. But I don’t have any specific goals on where to place, I just want to qualify and do the best I can.

“This season I was chasing goals a lot and that led to my injury so this year I’m going to focus on keeping healthy and enjoying my athletics. I’m not rushing for heights, just enjoying the process.”

* Entain, owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to be championing the next generation of British sporting heroes by providing talented young athletes with financial support and personal development opportunities in partnership with SportsAid. Visit entaingroup.com to find out more.