ANDREW Pozzi is celebrating after becoming the first Great Britain hurdler to achieve the standard required to compete at the Rio Olympics while competing at the the Loughborough Innternational event last weekend.
The Stratford Athletics Club runner produced an outstanding performance in the 100m race in Loughborough to record a finishing time of 13.32 which was a new personal best and was also the seventh fastest time ever recorded by a British athlete.
Pozzi, 24, was representing England and is renowned technical hurdling ability, coupled with his cautious preparation by combining speed and gym work, paid dividends in the build up to the race and by the time he got to the second hurdle he was already five metres ahead.
The former St Benedict’s High School student maintained the blistering pace until the last two hurdles when a little ring rustiness with his timing caused him to hit the hurdles which probably added a couple of tenths off his time.
Injuries have hampered Pozzi’s progress over the last few years, but after just his second outdoor race in four years, ever the pragmatist Pozzi feels he is now on the right road to Rio.
Afterwards Pozzi reflected on his performance, saying: “I’m thrilled with the run but there’s always room for improvement and I’m confident that with more races I will go faster leading up to the Olympic trials.”
Pozzi has enjoyed a hugely successful career to date after joining Stratford Athletics Club when he was 11-years-old. He first trained in multiple events before specialising in the hurdles four years later.
A move to Bristol to study allowed him to work with UK coach Malcolm Arnold, who coached Colin Jackson, he boasts an impressive CV which includes silver at the European Junior Championships, a fourth place finish at the World Youth Championships and he also appeared at London 2012 but Pozzi did not finish the race because of an injury.
Elsewhere in Loughborough, Stratford under-20 runner Rory Dwyer was also in action in the High Jump and his persistence and hard graft are paying off after finishing with a best clearance on the day of 2.09 along with four other athletes.