Despite his injury setback, the reigning European and world indoor 60m hurdles champion hasn’t ruled out winning a third major title in as many years in Glasgow
Following his comeback competition after injury, reigning European indoor 60m hurdles champion Andrew Pozzi posted a progress update to Twitter. “A little way to go to get what I want this indoor season,” he wrote, following his 7.67 to finish fifth in Düsseldorf, “but nothing that can’t be achieved with nine days and a good haircut.”
A few days out from the start of his title defence in Glasgow, the 26-year-old was still to get that haircut, but was pleased enough with the rest of his final preparations to not rule out a third consecutive major indoor title after his European gold gained in Belgrade in 2017 and his world win from 2017.
“I’m still completely dishevelled!” laughed the Italy-based hurdler, who last year switched his training base from Loughborough in the UK to Formia to work with Cuban coach Santiago Antunez.
“I had an absolutely awful haircut in Italy when I had been there for maybe two months and it scarred me for life, so I decided that from then on I’d only get a haircut with someone I could speak the same language as.
“Maybe I’ll wander into Glasgow and find a good barber shop in the next day or two – you’ll have to wait and see!”
That Pozzi is in Glasgow at all, haircut or not, bears testament to his determination to return to the top of the sport as quickly as possible.
At the start of the year, the Stratford athlete had ruled out having an indoor season after tearing his quad while training in the UK over the Christmas period.
Despite losing eight weeks of training, his recovery has enabled him to not only return to competition, but also feel confident that a medal and even gold could be his for the taking.
“It’s an incredibly significant period that we lost, especially because whenever it comes to the indoors, you tend to do heavy winter work up until Christmas so I’d only actually done about a week or two weeks at the end of December of quite fast hurdling work, which I would consider specific to racing indoors,” he explains.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m competing purely because I love to do so – if you can compete, I think take that opportunity. I look back at the three or four years I spent unable to complete (also through injury) and that very much affects my decision, I suppose. I take every opportunity I can to just get out there and enjoy it.”
But that’s not to say he’ll be in Scotland just to make up the numbers.
“You’ve got to be in it to win it so the fact I’m here, I’ve got a much better chance than I had about three weeks ago,” he says, with competition beginning with the heats on Saturday.
“It’s certainly possibly (to win), I’ve not ruled it out. I think what is very true is that it’s very difficult to forecast it compared to the last two years. In 2017 I was the world leader, I was the overwhelming favourite to go and win in Belgrade. Last year similarly, although I had some problems in the build-up, I’d also done lots of really fast training sessions where I knew that I could run 7.4-something and potentially win in Birmingham.”
Pozzi’s world title was won in 7.46, while he claimed his European indoor gold after a 7.51 performance which followed a 7.43 PB earlier in the season.
This time he thinks a mark of 7.50 or faster will be required to win, with his rivals including the French trio of Pascal Martinot Lagarde, Wilhem Belocian and Aurel Manga, plus Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus and Spain’s Olympic 110m hurdles medallist Orlando Ortega, who leads the European rankings with 7.49.
“I do believe I can take a fair chunk of time off that which I ran in Düsseldorf and I do believe that I can be competitive for a medal, but for me it’s about getting stuck in and enjoying it,” Pozzi adds.
“All I would say is I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if I end up on the podium at the weekend.”
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