Bristol alumnus Andy Pozzi has won the 60m hurdles gold medal competing at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Over the shortest distance run by seniors indoors, Pozzi was faced with five hurdles, each of which are a daunting 3’6” high, to overcome. He won his heat convincingly earlier in the day, running the fastest qualifying time of all the heats, progressing comfortably to the final yesterday evening.
Despite getting out of the blocks slowly he kept his composure as he drew in the other seven finalists, leaving it down to the line to win in a time only a hundredth of a second faster than his heat this morning, 7.51 seconds. He did not have the smoothest race, possibly his worst this year as he was slow out of the blocks and clipped the latter three hurdles, however he showed true determination that is often only brought out by the injuries and setbacks which his career has been riddled with.
Woahhh that was close 😣. Over the moon to be EUROPEAN 60M HURDLES CHAMPION!! Worth every second the long road to get here 🎉 thanks everyone
— Andrew Pozzi (@andrew_pozzi) March 3, 2017
If he can win a major championship in a not particularly technically brilliant race, it will be interesting to see what he does this summer when London takes centre stage again as it plays host to the biannual Athletics World Championships.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Andy commented “It was a bit scrappy and it was closer than I would’ve liked but I got there in the end.”
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) March 3, 2017
The defending champion, France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde took silver, whilst the Czech, Petr Svoboda had to settle for bronze.
As an MSc student at the University of Bristol, Andy won BUCS gold at the 2014 BUCS Indoor Championships in Sheffield, setting a BUCS record which he holds to this day.
Andy had shown good form this season coming into the European Championships, recently setting a personal best over the same distance at the British Indoor Championships in February, clocking in at 7.43 seconds. This follows on from last summer where a string of excellent results, including a 110m hurdles PB at the London Diamond League, culminated in qualification for the British team for the Rio Olympics where he progressed to the semi-finals.
Pozzi is the first British athlete to take home a gold medal in this event in 15 years, and although the time was perhaps not as fast as he would’ve liked, he will still be delighted with a major championship title. This is Great Britain’s first gold medal of this year’s event, hopefully with more on the way. We look forward with anticipation to seeing how another recent graduate, Jazmin Sawyers gets on after she qualified for tomorrow afternoon’s long jump final in seventh place with a best of 6.54m.