The world 60m hurdles No.1 heads to Belgrade confident but not complacent and with medals in mind
Andrew Pozzi is understandably looking to achieve his peak performance of this winter at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade. That’s an exciting prospect when you consider what the 24-year-old has already managed so far this year.
Putting the pain of injury struggles behind him, the two-time Olympian has stormed this season, improving his 7.53 60m hurdles PB – which had been set when finishing fourth at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot – first to 7.44 in Karlsruhe before matching that time in the heats of the British Athletics Indoor Team Trials in Sheffield. He then went faster still with 7.43 to dominate the event at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham a week later. Pozzi now holds the world lead and four of the six quickest times in the world so far this year.
“It’s no surprise to the people that have worked with me and know me that I am starting to make big leaps ahead time wise because I think it’s long overdue,” says Pozzi, whose patience is paying off after multiple surgeries. “It has just been very difficult to get momentum and I have had consistent interruptions.
“It’s very difficult to talk about my career without talking about injuries,” he adds. “Essentially last season was only the second season out of maybe five since I’ve been a senior that I’ve been able to compete fully.”
Following the retirement of his former coach, Malcolm Arnold, Pozzi teamed up with Benke Blomkvist last year in Loughborough where the group includes fellow Belgrade-bound hurdler David Omoregie, sprinters Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Danny Talbot, plus 2011 world 400m hurdles gold medallist Dai Greene.
“I was fortunate that I had a really good handover and transition from Malcolm to Benke. They get on so for me it was quite smooth,” Pozzi says.
“Benke is a very technical hurdles coach. He’s very data- driven and that’s been really good for me to work with.”
Given his season so far, Pozzi will take to the track of the Kombank Arena on Friday (March 3) confident, but certainly not complacent.
“When I’m racing Europe’s best week in, week out, and I’m running well and competitively, it would be crazy for me to say that I just want to be there,” he says. “But at the same time, I know that the only way that (winning a medal) will happen is by focusing on each performance.
“I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t know that I could go there and compete for medals and maybe even the gold based on the kind of shape I’m in, but that’s never going to happen if that’s all I’m concerned about.”
» See the March 2 edition of AW magazine for a four-page preview to the European Indoor Championships and check out our website, social media accounts and next week’s magazine for coverage