It’s been a tough season for English sprint hurdler Andy Pozzi, who has failed to meet his high standards in a packed outdoor season but is hopeful of improvement over the coming years in the build-up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Pozzi, 26, came into a busy outdoor athletics season in fine form, having won 60m hurdles gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March this year. He followed up that performance by making the 110m hurdles final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, but the Team England athlete finished sixth in the final, after hitting a number of hurdles.
The Leamington-Spa born athlete also made the final at the recent European Athletics Championships and rounded off his season at the recently Müller Grand Prix Birmingham, a fond event for the Stratford-upon-Avon AC runner.
Reflecting on his season, Pozzi said: “It’s no secret right now that the back end of my race isn’t where I want it to be. At the World Indoor Championships, I showed that my first half is stronger than anyone else in the world, but outdoors you have to run a complete race and for some reason this year I haven’t been able to but that will absolutely change next season.”
It’s been a packed schedule for many of England’s leading athletes, and Pozzi admitted that finding the motivation recently has been tough, but there was little doubt about coming to compete in Birmingham earlier this month.
“It’s mentally draining having such a packed season, particularly after some disappointments your mind is elsewhere” he added. “The Müller Grand Prix Birmingham is such an incredible event, so I probably wouldn’t have competed, if it wasn’t for that event, for the rest of the year.
“Major championships are always the focus, and when I am not in the shape I can be in I have to look at what my motivations are to compete. For me, the other weekend, it was to come to Birmingham which an incredible city for athletics and put on a show in front of a good crowd and I really enjoyed that. I am thankful for the event being as enjoyable as it was.”
With 2018 over now for Pozzi, focus turns to developing for next year as part of preparation to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – a competition that Pozzi will be keen to not only represent Team England at, but compete for medals.
He continued: “We need to keep in context that it was a bad season, despite a couple of finals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
“We know that my top speed is one of the best in the world but it’s about consistency. Outdoors, it’s a 10-hurdle race, and mistakes at any point really set you back and I need to make sure that the second half matches the top end quality.
“It’s now more of a case of asking why I didn’t have the outdoor season I wanted to have and making sure that it is not going to happen going forward.”
Birmingham will be the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games from 27 July – 7 August, twenty years after the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.