CLAUDIA CUBBAGE celebrated her athletics re-emergence as she stormed to a sliver medal at the European Veterans’ Athletics Championships.
The City of Portsmouth ace donned the Great Britain vest and picked up a pole vault podium place in the searing heat of Turkey in the W40 category.
Now the multi-eventer is targeting World Championship glory next summer in Lyon
Cubbage’s success caps a remarkable return to the sport for the former Wales international and inaugural British record-holder in her event.
The 41-year-old was one of the first women to get involved in the pole vault when it was opened to females in the 1980s.
Injury saw her involvement wane, however, before a return last year led to a rapid ascent.
Cubbage, a teacher from Havant, explained she nearly didn’t make it to the event which followed a long line of recent successes.
She said: ‘To put that GB vest on and get a medal was really quite nice.
‘I didn’t think I was going to make it with commitments.
‘But I flew out the day before, registered, competed and flew back the next night.
‘It was blistering and I maybe could have done with some acclimatisation! It was 38 degrees. Very, very hot.
‘But to medal, after I fell out of athletics, was pleasing.
‘I used to be a Welsh international, but I snapped my Achilles and it was quite serious. Now I’m trying to get my sporting prowess back!’
Cubbage has seen first hand the value of veterans’ athletics after picking up success at county and British level. And she believes there are changes needed to the category to attract further participation.
Cubbage said: ‘There are a huge number of people over 35 who compete in athletics, and none of it is funded.
‘That’s a huge shame for a market which people don’t consider. Other countries have much more funding than we do.
‘These people hold the sport together but I don’t feel the money is ploughed back in. It’s wrong.’