The injury-stricken Olympic hurdler raced outdoors in August for the first time since London 2012
Andrew Pozzi is hopeful that his return to fitness will finally see him fulfil the potential he has offered glimpses of during his short career.
A low-key run in mid-August this year for Pozzi, in which the sprint hurdler clocked 13.62, marked something of a watershed moment for the 23-year-old as it was his first race outdoors since pulling up in his heat at the London 2012 Olympics.
Fighting a seemingly perennial battle against stress fractures in his foot, Pozzi has been confined to the indoor track to demonstrate his ability, which he did in some measure in 2014 when he finished fourth in the World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, repeating his success from two years previous.
The relief of Pozzi’s return to the outdoor scene has finally provided the now injury-free hurdler with some foundations upon which he is hoping to lay his road to Rio.
“It’s a really big breakthrough I’d say,” said Pozzi. “Me and my coach were discussing this and I’ve had a few sessions which have gone really, really well where I’m running faster than I have before and lifting better than I have before.
“At this stage of the year it’s probably the most work I’ve been able to do since starting again in October than pretty much any other year, certainly since 2012.
“It’s really enjoyable again to be able to walk away from training feeling like I’ve made a big step on and big improvement rather than trying to play catch up.”
The ability to do himself justice and reach a level Pozzi believes is befitting of his obvious talent is one hugely motivating factor, but another is to help repay the faith of those who have stuck with him through the past three injury-ravaged years.
The effects of constantly swimming against the tide of injury resulted in a number of high-profile individual casualties from the British Athletics World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) funding list in November, but Pozzi has retained the faith of the selectors.
Pozzi said: “I’m incredibly fortunate with funding and sponsorship. That’s something that motivates me a great deal. To have that reinforcement from others that they can see what I think I’m capable of doing and they agree with that makes it a lot easier to continually pick myself up, come back and improve.
“To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have blamed them if I wouldn’t have made the funding list. I never felt that I had a right to be on that at all.
“But obviously I’m biased. If you were to ask me, there’s enough of a reason to think that despite the time off I’ve had, I can come back and compete as well as anyone else on our team in Rio.”