Athletics
Pozzi set for world stage

05/03 Updated: 05/03 17:07

ANDREW POZZI admits he had not prioritised the World Indoor Championships this winter – but as his senior British debut approaches there he knows the importance of them with the summer in mind.

The 19-year-old sprint hurdler had to settle for second best at the European Junior Championships back in July but so far this year it has been hard to stop Pozzi finishing anywhere but first.

Of his 11 indoor 60m hurdles races he has failed to cross the line first just twice with his most notable win at the Indoor UK Trials & Championships in Sheffield booking him a trip to Turkey.

He equalled his personal best of 7.62 seconds to earn not only his first British senior title but also the praise of UKA head coach Charles van Commenee – a man not known for compliments.

Pozzi will be the only male British 60m hurdler in Istanbul and is adamant the experience will prove vital in his bid to ensure his first major senior outing is swiftly followed by a second.

“The World Indoor Championships were not something I had really pegged for myself to do but it was an aim nonetheless,” said Pozzi, whose personal best was 0.03 seconds inside the world indoor qualifying standard.

“But now the aim in Istanbul is to make the final. If I run the times I have done so far and the ones I am capable of then I have the potential.

“To be up there as one of the top eight in the world at 19 would be a fantastic achievement. If I go and run around my current personal best and maybe quicker then that is job done for me and I’d be really happy.

“To head out to the world indoors is an incredible experience and will be one that will stay with me as I look to qualify for the Olympics and European Championships later this year.

“To line up against a lot of competitors from other nations – who I sat and looked at and marvelled at – and to be racing in the same field and potentially mixing it with some of them will be a real experience.”

Pozzi, who is supported by local Stratford company FPS, took time out of his preparations for the World Indoor Championships to deliver a speech to the eight up-and-coming Spar Sprints Stars chosen in the class of 2012.

He won the Spar Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award last year and insists he would not be standing where he is at present without the support from the scheme.

“What’s quite different from a lot of support schemes out there is it helped me with a lot of different skills I’m going to need and have needed as an athlete,”

“So it isn’t just providing money and finical support which obviously they do to an extent and is great but for me I really benefitted from doing other things like the media work.”

Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics. For more information visit www.spar.co.uk

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