ANDREW POZZI turned on the style to secure victory in a scintillating 110m hurdles final at the weekend’s UK trials at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham and secure automatic selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.
After comfortably finishing in the top three in his heat, the former Alcester Grammar School pupil had one aim and that was to win the title he last won in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics.
Despite already having the Olympic qualifying time under his belt going into the race, Stratford Athletic Club’s Pozzi felt he was rusty after having so long away from racing and his timing had not been quite right, but there was no sign of that in the final.
Pozzi, 24, had his old training and sparring partner Lawrence Clarke two lanes away and also in great form, so victory was not going to be a stroll in the park.
Clarke got away slightly quicker but Pozzi was in the mix at the first hurdle and, despite a 1.3m/s headwind, his superior speed and technique saw him pull away from the rest of the athletes to run a lifetime best 13.31secs and take the British Championship 110m hurdles title and book his seat on the plane to Rio.
Pozzi has always enjoyed competing at the Alexander Stadium from his younger days with Stratford AC juniors and afterwards said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win, especially in a new personal best.
“I knew the racing would be tough after the heats but now I can go back into training and prepare for Rio.
“I am over the moon to come back and qualify four years after doing it for London 2012 and that was actually the last outdoor trials I ran in.
“With a PB and the same lane I did it in four years ago, I love Birmingham. I grew up just down the road in Stratford so it’s always good to come back.”