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Paxton is jumping for joy after being told she would not compete again

Less than 18 months after doctors claimed she would never jump again, Henrietta Paxton says she is eager to push herself to new heights in the pole vault at this weekend's Sainsbury's British Championships in Birmingham.

The 30-year-old former Scottish champion was among the most heartening inclusions for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games since confounding expert opinion to produce an effort of 4.30 metres two weeks ago that came within a notch of her personal best.

"It's been a complete shock," she said. "I completely ruptured my hamstring and was told I'd never vault again. It's just all very strange.

"I'm loving it. But it's a different feel about it. The pressure's off. I can just take it for what it is after being told I'd never do this again."

The revival has come step by step at her base in Loughborough where she had embarked on a Masters in Nutrition when the door to athletics had seemed bolted shut. Seeking fresh gains, she turned to her long-standing rival Kate Dennison, who had collected a class of pupils to tutor since retiring in 2012.

The one-time UK record holder has nursed Paxton gently back to rude health. "It's easy with Kate," she said. "She was keen to be still involved and she's doing a great job with a few of the younger guys. We'd always supported each other, even when we were competing."

Birmingham offers Paxton a tantalising opportunity to claim a national title that has eluded her. The silver medallist in 2009, she will not have to contend with Holly Bleasdale, the rankings leader by 38 centimetres, whose season is already over. The young prospect Lucy Bryan, and Sally Peake, are within reach. Victory would be another lift, the Scot concedes. However doing herself justice at Hampden in four weeks time is still the focus.

"We're going to use it as a trial run for the Commonwealths because, other than the Aussies, most of my rivals will be there," she revealed. "It's an awesome place to jump. I won't even really focus on height. It's just great to compete."

Scotland's teenage prospects Shaun Wyllie and Kimberley Reed have both been confirmed in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for next month's world indoor championships in Oregon.

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