IAAF president Seb Coe describes the event as “one of the most successful of all time”
Andrew Pozzi is back in Birmingham with a medal in mindFebruary 28, 2018
GB team co-captain says things have “come full circle” as he returns to the scene of his early athletics memories on the hunt for his own world medal
It has been 15 years since a 10-year-old Andrew Pozzi was “captured” by the hurdles as a spectator at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. Now, as the event returns to England’s West Midlands, the 60m hurdler hopes for his own global medal moment.
Growing up in the nearby Stratford-upon-Avon, Pozzi feels at home in the host city. After being inspired by events in 2003, some of his own stand-out moments have also taken place on the same Birmingham track – a British under-20 record in 2010, plus his current PB of 7.43 set last year – and he’s keen to make some more.
“I’ve got such fond memories from Birmingham, going back to when I was a kid,” the 25-year-old reflects.
“The first athletics competition I ever watched was in Birmingham, in this very arena – the trials in 2003 before the World Indoors. 15 years later it’s kind of come full circle and it’s great for me. It’s somewhere that I really enjoy racing and I feel happy to be here.”
“Winning European Indoors last year was the first big step and I want to follow on with upgrading that to a world indoor medal”
On his memories as a young fan, he adds: “I remember seeing Christian Malcolm (at the trials) because I was sat by where athletes first get brought out and there was a delay on track so he got a volunteer to bring a chair over and he stood on the chair and spoke to me and a bunch of other little kids.
“Mark (Lewis-Francis) won the trials for the 60m that year and I remember going to school the day after and I’d been on TV climbing over chairs to get his autograph down by the finish.
“Then at the World Indoors, Colin (Jackson) came fifth, I think it was his last ever indoor race and I remember watching that and being really captured by the hurdles. Liu Xiang came third at 19 years of age, and that was the start of his breakthrough. It was a really important time for me and I think that’s what propelled me toward really loving athletics.”
This time – when his campaign begins on Saturday evening – Pozzi will be among the stars in the spotlight as he looks to add another major medal to the European indoor title he claimed exactly one year before.
“That’s a cool little anniversary, although I won’t go out to celebrate on Saturday!” laughs the Benke Blomkvist-coached athlete, who will go up against the likes of Jamaica’s Ronald Levy, plus USA’s Aries Merritt and Jarret Eaton this weekend.
“If you look at my career, I’ve been quite slow to start picking up medals. I’ve been a senior for the best part of six years now, starting off in 2012. Winning European Indoors last year was the first big step and I want to follow on with upgrading that to a world indoor medal.”
Pozzi is also keen to make an impact in his role as GB team co-captain, as voted by his team-mates.
“It is a great privilege to be voted as captain and it is nice that other people on the team feel that you can offer them something more than just your performance,” he says. One of those offerings is an inspiring captain’s speech, but he’s keeping the contents of that close to his chest.
“I have thought about it, but you’ll get zero preview, I’m afraid!” he says, when asked about his speech. “It’s there for the athletes so hopefully they will come out afterwards and say it was useful, or at least entertaining if nothing else!”