After a hugely successful 2018, Andrew Pozzi now has his sights set on European Athletics Indoor Championships glory in Glasgow.
Heading into the new year as reigning world indoor champion after his win at Birmingham in March, the challenge now for Pozzi is to continue the positive momentum by setting down an early marker to his rivals at the Emirates in March.
Here’s all you need to know about the talented 26-year-old ahead of his likely appearance at Glasgow 2019.
What’s his story?
Athletics has always appeared to come easy to Pozzi.
His aptitude for the sport was apparent from an early age right from when he posted the fastest ever time by a UK junior hurdler (13.29s) in 2011.
Negotiating the tricky step up to senior athletics with consummate ease, Pozzi then became UK Indoor Champion in 2012. GB recognition quickly followed.
On his first appearance in the famous vest, the Warwickshire hurdler claimed a highly respectable fourth-place at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
His progress since has been somewhat affected by injury problems and he admitted in 2018 that he had once considered quitting athletics altogether.
That patience and hard work has since been rewarded, though, as he roared back into form to achieve European Indoor success in Belgrade and lift the world title in 2018.
At 26, the stage is very much still set for Pozzi to challenge for further titles on the European and world stage – starting with Glasgow 2019.
How did 2018 go for him?
Very well indeed.
If European Indoor Athletics Championships gold at Belgrade 2017 symbolised a coming of age for Pozzi on the continent, 2018 saw the Stratford-Upon-Avon-born hurdler go one step further and star on the global circuit.
The highlight, by some distance, was his scintillating gold on home soil at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, where he beat American star Jarret Eaton by just ne-hundredth of a second.
But Pozzi also raced to success outdoors, winning the British Athletics Championships in July and delivering a series of strong performances in the Diamond League.
Topping 2018 will be tough, but the Brit is used to overcoming the obstacles put in his way. Don’t bet against him doing just that over the coming year.
What’s his indoor record like?
While some athletes struggle to convert outdoor form to the indoor arena, Pozzi is one of the few exceptions.
If anything, as his 2017 and 2018 titles testify, the reigning World and European indoor champion is at his very best under the roof.
With that in mind, Pozzi is likely to head into Glasgow 2019 as the man to beat in the 60m hurdles.
Who are his main rivals?
The undisputed number one in Britain, Pozzi faces a major battle to hold onto his crown at a European level.
In an area of strength in European athletics, the Brit’s main rival at the Emirates Arena could well be Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.
European champion at the 110m hurdles, Martinot-Lagarde is a top-class operator and a serious threat to Pozzi’s title.
2015 world champion Sergey Shubenkov, Spaniard Orlando Ortega and Czech record-holder Petr Svoboda are other ones to watch in what is set to be a top-class field in Glasgow.
How is he preparing for Glasgow 2019?
Preparations are already underway for the Stratford-Upon-Avon athlete ahead of a pivotal 2019. As part of his training, Pozzi has relocated to Italy, while he also brought in the New Year with girlfriend and fellow athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
At this stage, all roads lead to February’s British Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, with athletes needing to put on a good performance at the event in order to achieve qualification for Glasgow.
— Andrew Pozzi (@andrew_pozzi) December 31, 2018
What they said
Pozzi told Sky Sports: “I genuinely believe I can win a medal at Tokyo. If it was just about reaching finals, I probably would have stayed in the UK. I know, somehow I know I can achieve this at the highest level and that makes moving to Italy easier.”
Colin Jackson: ““Every time I watch him run, I think if anyone can take my world or European records, it is this young man.
“He has all that is needed: he has good basic speed and now he has proved he can win major championships and already we had seen that he can run the fastest time in the world. You cannot ask for much more than that.
“Now it is for him to get more training under his belt and to progress the same way he is going. It may take him two years but I am thinking that those 7.30 and 12.91 are marked figures.”