Giant steps to normality and refuelled for Tokyo

By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 13/07/20 6:29pm

Andrew Pozzi looks in good shape despite a frustrating lockdown

Andrew Pozzi looks in good shape despite a frustrating lockdown

Andrew Pozzi looks in good shape despite a frustrating lockdown

After three months of lockdown, Andrew Pozzi is back in Italy and on the winning trail as GB’s top hurdler starts dreaming of the Olympics again.

The 28-year-old Sky Sport Scholar opens up on getting through one of the biggest challenges of his career…..


“When the Olympics were cancelled in March all preparations that had taken place this year were thrown into chaos.

I returned to the UK from Italy for what was meant to be two weeks but, due to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, stayed for nearly three months.

Training through the pandemic took a backseat as safety and social responsibility rightly took precedence. I was able to adapt and train well at home and outdoors, albeit away from my coach and training group.

At the start of June, when Italy opened its doors and airlines tentatively began flying again, I returned to Formia with uncertainty but determination.

Italy was further along in its recovery from the pandemic than the UK and with social distancing precautions and some rule changes in place, I was able to get straight back into full training.

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Andrew Pozzi and Imani Lansiquot on coping with coronavirus and rebuilding new training plans for the Tokyo Olympics

Andrew Pozzi and Imani Lansiquot on coping with coronavirus and rebuilding new training plans for the Tokyo Olympics

Having been in relatively complete isolation for the last three months it was strange to engage socially again but I enjoyed being back with my group and working hard again.

Due to the training I was able to achieve in lockdown I returned in reasonable shape and able to drop straight back into tough work.

We were and remain unsure of what kind of competition opportunities will be available this summer with the Olympics, European Championships and so many of the Diamond Leagues being cancelled, but the hope of some sort of competition is enough to fuel our training.

In times of frustration it’s important to remember that the Olympics have been postponed and not cancelled, the goal remains the same, even if the time frame has changed.

Everything I’m doing now is ultimately still in commitment to the Tokyo Olympics next year, which was the reason for my move to Formia in 2018.

This year had been going well for me but I’m trying to see the benefit in having another year of work with my coach to make the changes that we’ve been implementing over the last 18 months.

Pozzi has overcome injury problems and a pandemic and is now focusing on Japan in 12 months Pozzi has overcome injury problems and a pandemic and is now focusing on Japan in 12 months

Pozzi has overcome injury problems and a pandemic and is now focusing on Japan in 12 months

Only six weeks into my return to Italy, the decision has proven worthwhile.

I’ve been able to train at a really good level and have performed strongly in our benchmarking tests. A week ago I was able to return to competition at the Fastweb Cup in Rieti, Italy.

The competition was behind closed doors and with many anti-COVID precautions to ensure safety, but it was such a great feeling to be able to compete nonetheless.

The event was largely domestic but I was grateful to have the opportunity given my residence in Italy. I ran twice, winning both races in 13.44 seconds and 13.48s, which all things considered I was pleased with.

I was very rusty and took some time to find my feet but it was a great first step on the road back to normality.

With the 2020 calendar still taking shape, I’m staying ready to take any opportunity that presents itself as I continue to build towards Tokyo next year.

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