GB hurdler Andrew Pozzi on testing athletics season and looks ahead to Tokyo Olympics
Moving to Italy, changing coach, injury distress and tumbles on the trail.
It is no wonder Andrew Pozzi explains the last year as”tumultuous” – events which pushed the relationship with his new trainer to the maximum.
However, the top hurdler of Great Britain was through all this before and his track, mentality and wisdom abilities should place him in a place to get on the podium at the summer’s Olympics.
Has the 27-year-old coped with trauma and why is he in great spirits with Tokyo seven months away?
“In a very long season filled with ups and downs, it was very simple to concentrate just on the final moments and reflect with disappointment and frustration.
This disappeared and the learning started. Analysing the year week by week by contest, I started to realise – accepting what could be changed for 2020 and recognising that which had been just out of our control and down into luck.
2019 was a tumultuous year. So much happened – both good and bad – at the longest season of the career.
I started the summer in October 2018 with a movement to the west shore of Italy, shifting mentor (Santiago Antunez), environment, language and philosophy in the expectation of finding improvements which could take me to the World Championships podium in Doha.
I started adapting to the new fashion and settled into training. Training was similar to the work I had done during the past few years but with a focus on technique and of the minute details of my own event. The first few months were challenging, engaging but ultimately rewarding, and that I was excited about my progress.
As we approached Christmas and I flew back to the UK for a short break I had my first taste of injury – a tear in my quadriceps. Our plans changed and two weeks later I just came out of the other side to train.
This harm tested the connection I had been building with my new trainer, and while it ruined any aspirations I had of retaining my European indoor 60m hurdles name, it brought me closer to my own trainer and coaching environment; providing us with a initial test to negotiate as well as an early chance to understand.
Following a jagged indoor year and also eight weeks before my outside race, we started that I eventually had some improvement and the graft needed.
I began my season strongly with second-place finishes at the Rome and Rabat Diamond Leagues ahead of taking my seasons best down to 13.28s with fourth at the Lausanne Diamond League.
So rushing gave me great assurance I was in heavy training through this stage. My races were both solid and the second half of these races were advancing.
The first half was so great and that I was in a competitive place at barrier five but I still lacked sharpness, although this was expected.
Due to the amount of this year (World Championships were in October, maybe not the usual August) we’re always thinking about working heavily before mid-late July prior to entering a slightly lighter, more competition-specific, phase.
What was not expected was my major taste of injury this year, once I had a drop in training after my race in Lausanne. I made a technical error when hurdling under exhaustion and that I endured a heavy fall.
It wasn’t clear exactly what the problem was although I was in a great deal of pain and for two weeks we had been under the impression. Warming up for the Anniversary Games my symptoms were worsening and after the race I struggled to walk.
It was I had damaged my muscle and tendon in addition to some structures . It ended up being a disaster and cost me of preparation and training.
We worked tirelessly to provide ourselves every opportunity of success in Doha but with the high hurdles being such a specialized and occasion the lack of training really hurt the season’s progress.
I was left in the World Championships from sync and struggling to recreate the kind of earlier in this season. I didn’t make the final.
So it turned out to be a difficult season but we’re beginning preparations for the Tokyo Olympics and the 2020 season and I moved on.
I’m in a place physically and mentally thanks insightful, although to some challenging 2019! Motivated and settled, I am excited about what next year has in store.