New UK coach aims to get Pozzi back on track

Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 29/11 11:37

NEW UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson insists he will be searching inside Andy Pozzi’s head as he bids to help him put his London 2012 nightmare firmly behind him.

Stratford’s Pozzi headed into London 2012 - his debut Games - full of confidence having already topped the 110m hurdles podium at the Olympic Stadium with victory at the BUCS Championships in May.

However, the 20-year-old former Alcester Grammar School student picked up a hamstring injury competing in the Crystal Palace Diamond League a month before the Games, leaving him to limp out of his heat after clearing just the first hurdle.

Pozzi admitted the ordeal had been a nightmare and will be looking to prove to Eriksson that he can bounce back, with the Swede having replaced Charles van Commenee as UKA head coach after helping Britain’s Paralympic track and field athletes win 29 medals at London 2012.

It appears that Eriksson is impressed by what he sees in Pozzi, although he admits that talent is only half the fight and that he, like the rest of Britain’s young stars, must win the battle in their mind first and foremost.

“I think we have a lot of great young athletes and coaches on the Olympic side like Andy and I think we can do better and better as we continue,” said Eriksson, at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette, where he was named High Performance Coach of the Year.

“I think we have a lot of athletes under the age of 23 that we can take from medal contenders to medallists. The ground roots are already there and although it is a big leap I believe that we can do it.

“We have brought in Dr Steve Peters to work on the psychology side of things like he did with British Cycling and he will be important to help us out and prepare for the future because I think we can do much better on the psychology aspect.

“It is something that we have done really well on the Paralympic side of things and I think it is something that we can do more on the Olympic side of things. With his help and the coaches we have, we will do alright.”

The first real chance that Pozzi will have to impress new boss Eriksson will be at next year’s World Championships in Moscow.

However, it is very clear to Eriksson what he is working towards, with the success of London 2012 still firmly in everyone’s mind.

“My new task is a big task, a complex task, but I look forward to it and I think it is going to be great,” he added.

“We have some time to work now until the Rio 2016 Olympics and, although it will be hard work, time is on our side.

“We need not rush things as the big goal is obviously the Olympics and building on our London successes.”

Gillette’s support of the UK Coaching Awards follows its partnership with Sports Coach UK earlier this year as part of the ‘Great Starts’ campaign, introduced to celebrate coaches and inspire the next generation by awarding coaching grants.

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