ANDREW POZZI revealed his delight after claiming victory in the 2016 Indoor British Athletics Championships men’s 60m hurdles.
The Stratford Athletic Club star has battled against numerous injuries over the last few years in a bid to return to his brilliant best and his hard work came to fruition as he clocked a season’s best 7.61secs to win the gold medal.
Afterwards Pozzi, who edged Lawrence Clarke into second place, said: “That one was really hard for me, just in terms of my limited preparation, so it’s nice to be back after injury and it makes you appreciate it so much more.
“I am absolutely delighted to win because I knew the other hurdlers had been running very well and were going to be really strong, so this means a lot to me.”
Pozzi approached the championships with a low-key, under the radar build-up and, with just one race and a good warm weather training trip to Tenerife behind him, he was looking to “see how it goes”.
His heat had his supporters’ hearts in their mouths as a “twitch” at the start of his race bought a warning but then as the race unfolded he powered his way to a comfortable victory in 7.76secs as he eased up.
The final was pure power from the blocks to the finish and his victory over fellow Olympian Lawrence Clarke who finished second in 7.65secs and David Omoregie who secured bronze in 7.71secs was earned in a three-way dip for the line.
Winning the title means automatic qualification for the World Championships in Portland, Oregon, USA, later this month but, with the Rio Olympics the main target for 2016, Pozzi will think about whether he goes or not.
The 23-year-old former Alcester Grammar School pupil said: “I love running for GB but things are going well and, as I am focusing my attention on the Olympics and with all the injury setbacks I’ve had, I don’t want to disrupt my training and preparation.”
After winning the UK under 20 high jump championships a fortnight earlier, Stratford AC’s Rory Dwyer stepped up to the big boys’ event and came away “disappointed” with his ninth placed finish.
The event was won by Chris Baker, with Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz in the silver medal position.
Dwyer, 18, the youngest competitor on the day, said: “I felt good in the warm-up and relatively comfortable at my opening height of 2.02m and then 2.07m, but then the next height of 2.12m was not good technically and I think I was just trying too hard which messed my rhythm up.
“I’ve enjoyed the indoor season, winning my fourth indoor title and the experience of competing with the seniors and also learnt a lot stepping up, but now it’s back to the winter training and I’m looking forward to the outdoor season.”
Andrew Pozzi and Rory Dwyer are supported by FPS Distribution Ltd.