ANDREW POZZI turned on the style to secure victory in a scintillating 110m hurdles final at the weekend’s UK trials at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham and secure automatic selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.
After comfortably finishing in the top three in his heat, the former Alcester Grammar School pupil had one aim and that was to win the title he last won in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.
Despite already having the Olympic qualifying time under his belt going into the race, Stratford Athletic Club’s Pozzi felt he was rusty after having so long away from racing and his timing had not been quite right, but there was no sign of that in the final.
Pozzi had his old training and sparring partner Lawrence Clarke two lanes away and also in great form, so victory was not going to be a stroll in the park.
Clarke got away slightly quicker but Pozzi was in the mix at the first hurdle and, despite a 1.3m/s headwind, his superior speed and technique saw him pull away from the rest of the athletes to run a lifetime best 13.31secs and take the British Championship 110m hurdles title and book his seat on the plane to Rio.
Pozzi has always enjoyed competing at the Alexander Stadium from his younger days with Stratford AC juniors and afterwards said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win, especially in a new personal best.
“I knew the racing would be tough after the heats but now I can go back into training and prepare for Rio.”
His Stratford AC team-mate Rory Dwyer recently qualified to compete in the high jump for Great Britain at the forthcoming World Junior Championships in Poland and he arrived at the UK trials full of confidence and in good form after setting a personal best the previous week.
After struggling for form in his first few competitions of the season and with his A-level exams behind him, Dwyer has worked even harder in training and it has paid off with another fine series of jumps.
He comfortably moved through the heights and finally went out of the competition at 2.12m – his second best performance of the season.
Dwyer reflected: “I’m a bit disappointed but pleased I’m jumping consistently well.
“I’m shattered after everything that has been going on over the last few weeks but now I’ll be able to concentrate on the World Juniors.”
Stratford AC’s Issy Cain-Daley said she was “very disappointed” to have no-heighted in her first UK trials after jumping well in her warm-up.
“I didn’t get my run-up right in the swirling wind but really enjoyed the experience and I’ll learn from it,” she added.
Both Pozzi and Dwyer are extremely grateful for the support they get from Stratford-based FPS Distribution Ltd.