STRATFORD ACs Andrew Pozzi produced a highly satisfactory performance on his first appearance in the senior Great Britain team at the World Indoors Athletics Championships in Istanbul.
Pozzi agonisingly finished just outside the medals in the 60m hurdles final but did have the satisfaction of setting a new personal best of 7.61 seconds in his heat, beating his sporting hero China’s Liu Xiang in the process.
A flawless run meant he was the fastest qualifier for the semi-finals the next day.
Competing against the best in the world is a draining experience for anyone, let alone a 19-year-old debutant, but an overnight rest replenished Pozzi mentally and physically. He looked incredibly impressive in his semi-final, again improving his personal best to a stunning 7.56secs.
This time he finished just behind Liu Xiang but qualified for the final and went into it with a great chance of winning a medal.
The small army of family, friends and fellow Stratford AC members clamoured around their televisions and were probably more anxious than Pozzi, who has the ability to channel his nerves into his racing and switch off from everything around him to focus on his race.
Lining up alongside Aries Merritt of the USA was a bonus because a blistering start saw Pozzi right on his shoulder.
Merritt ran a composed and very fast race to win in 7.44. Pozzi was in contention for a medal right up to the last hurdle which he whacked so hard it broke in two. He battled all the way to the line and finished fourth, only 0.05 seconds away from a bronze medal.
Afterwards a slightly disappointed Pozzi reflected on the biggest occasion of his sporting life so far. “Unfortunately the final didn’t quite go perfectly but the heat and semi final were perfect, so I’m happy with that.
“I gave three good performances and lowered my pb from 7.62 to 7.56, and in the end that’s the most important thing.”
“It’s been a great experience being part of the British team and now I’m just looking towards the outdoor season in the 110m hurdles and trying my best to qualify for the London Olympics.”
Andrew Pozzi is supported by local Stratford company FPS, one of the UK’s most successful automotive aftermarket parts distribution companies.
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