Another day at the 2012 Olympic Stadium, another personal best for Andy Pozzi. And a Colin Jackson record too.
It was clear during the winter indoor season that Pozzi was going places as the latest world-class talent to emerge from the production line of Malcolm Arnold, the veteran hurdles coach who guided Jackson to two World Championship titles and a world record in the 110 metres hurdles – and who also turned Uganda's John Akii-Bua, Canada's Mark McKoy and Llanelli's Dai Greene into worldbeaters over the barriers. Yesterday Arnold's latest emerging charge, a native of Stratford-upon-Avon, was the star of the show on the fourth and final day of the athletics test event at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in London's East End.
On Sunday, Pozzi had clocked a personal best and Olympic A standard qualifying time of 13.52 sec in the heats of the 110m hurdles at the British Universities and Colleges Sport Championships. Yesterday the 19-year-old clocked a stunning 13.35sec in the final, smashing Jackson's UK age-19 best of 13.44sec and also Tomasz Scigaczewski's European age-19 best of 13.40sec.
Given the cold conditions and a 1.3-metre-per-second headwind, there is clearly further room for improvement for Pozzi, whose similarly talented training partner Lawrence Clarke won the UK Athletics 110m hurdles guest race in a lifetime-best time of 13.50sec on Sunday night.
"I am really pleased with the race," Pozzi said. "I knew after I'd run 13.52 in the first round that there was a lot more to come and I am happy to get 13.35.
"I think it is more reflective of what I could do at this point. I'm aiming to continue as I have been going. I've had a great year so far." Indeed he has. At the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, Pozzi narrowly missed a place on the podium, finishing fourth in the 60m hurdles final.
With just three spots available on the British Olympic team in the 110m hurdles, there are four major contenders: the burgeoning Pozzi; the World Championship bronze medallist and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner; 2009 World Championship fourth-placer William Sharman; and Clarke, the Commonwealth bronze medallist.
Pozzi and Clarke train under Arnold's direction at the University of Bath, as part of the same elite hurdles stable as Greene, the Welshman who won the World Championship 400m hurdles title at Daegu in South Korea last summer.
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