FORMER Alcester Grammar School pupil Andrew Pozzi became the fourth fastest 110m hurdler in British athletics history at the Muller Anniversary Games at the London Olympic Stadium.
However, despite the delight of clocking a new 13.19secs personal best in winning heat one, the 24-year-old again suffered frustration as he felt cramp and decided not to run in the final – as had been the case in the European Championships in Amsterdam just a fortnight earlier.
After his well-documented injury issues over the last four years since the 2012 London Olympics, Pozzi has taken a pragmatic approach to his preparation towards the Rio Olympics, which has been his ultimate goal.
After winning the recent UK Championship, he has continued to run personal bests, culminating in his stunning run in his heat alongside world record holder Aries Merritt.
The look on his face as he crossed the line showed his meticulous but cautious preparation had been justified as he saw 13.19 seconds flash up on the timing scoreboard.
The mouthwatering final, which included newly-crowned European champion, Frenchman Dimitri Bascou, was scheduled for only two hours after the heat and in that time Pozzi had a recurrence of the cramp which scuppered his European Championship medal hopes.
Bascou went on to triumph in a time of 13.2 – of course already bettered by Pozzi in his heat – and Stratford Athletic Club star Pozzi reflected: “I’m delighted to have run a PB but I decided that I couldn’t risk injury with Rio only a few days away, but I’m confident I’ll be fit, healthy and ready in Rio.
“Apologies to those in the stadium for not running the final. Rio is the goal though. The support was amazing as ever.”