THE British University & College Sports Championships are the breeding ground for many British track and field stars and this year the new breed had the Olympic Stadium in London as the setting.
BUCS was asked to stage the meet as a part of the London Prepares series of events for the Olympics including the official opening of the stadium.
The championships were held in bitterly cold temperatures that hardly got over 7 degrees and among the 1,700 athletes competing, Stratford AC supplied three athletes for their respective Universities.
The stand-out performance of the whole event came from Andrew Pozzi, competing for the University of West England in the 110m hurdles.
Apart from adding the outdoor BUCS championship to his indoor title, Pozzi's objective was to run the Olympic A qualifying standard of 13.52, and he duly delivered in the first round with a great run in exactly the required time.
He went on to win his semi final and the final was an incredible display of smooth technique.
An error-free race saw Pozzi storm clear after the first hurdle to win by a huge margin giving him a UK leading time of 13.35, well inside the A standard. His performance was the fastest time ever by a European 19-year-old.
Pozzi said: “I had cramp after the semi final but felt good going into the final and I'm really pleased with the race, getting the qualifying time and winning the championship.
"I knew after the first round that I had it in me to run quicker and now I can concentrate on training and competing at the trials in June and will hopefully get one of the first two automatic places for the Olympics."
He added: "But before then I've got to hit the books and revise for my second year exams".
Amanda Evans was competing for Leeds Metropolitan Carnegie and she had a busy and successful weekend.
On the first evening of the championships, and among a massive number of athletes competing in the high jump, Evans lined up in her pool as the temperature tumbled. After a cautious start her confidence grew and despite finishing on a superb 1.55m, which equalled her pb, she did not qualify for the final.
Evans also had to go through the drawn out tension of the pool stages of the long jump and on her third jump she leapt a lifetimes best of 5.06m but again just missed out on qualifying for the final.
Evans also had the drama of lining up on the third leg of the 4x100m relay in front of 45,000 people.
A typical battling performance helped her team to a place in the final but following a mystifying decision by the team management was left out of the line-up for the final.
Evans said:"It was disappointing not to run in the final but it was a great experience running in front of a huge crowd in the Olympic Stadium and I'm really pleased overall with my performances."
The third member of the Stratford trio was Emma Titcomb, who had been away from competitive athletics for three years at Bristol Uni.
Titcomb showed her talent is still shining brightly as she ran just outside her PB in the 100m hurdles.
She also ran really well in her 200m heat before tiring in the home straight.
Titcomb declared: "I enjoyed the experience so much and am looking forward to getting back into proper training again."
The championships gave "London Prepares" the opportunity to test their systems for the Olympics and essentially enabled the small army of volunteers and officials who were supporting the championships to practice at a live event.
Among them were Michael Lane, the juniors under 15 age group leader, and Anthony Carus, the club’s starter/timekeeper, who will be at the Olympics and hopefully making Andrew Pozzi feel at home.
Andrew Pozzi is supported by local Stratford company FPS,one of the UK's most successful automotive aftermarket parts distribution companies.
From the left - Emma Titcomb, Andrew Pozzi, Amanda Evans at the BUCS Championships in London's Olympic Stadium. (s)
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