Only one-hundredth of a second separated the gold and silver medal positions, but it was the 25 year old Brit who out-dipped USA’s Jarret Eaton in a time of 7.46s to win his first global title last night at Arena Birmingham writes Javier Yap.
Going into the championships as last year’s European Indoor Champion in Belgrade, Pozzi was one to watch in the same venue where he watched his first live athletics competition in 2003 with his father as a nine year old. Having narrowly missed out on a medal at his last two world indoor championships back in 2012 and 2014, the Brit delivered this time. Making a return to the sport after years off the track due to injury, Pozzi was over the moon with his performance.
Earlier in the evening, leading up to the seat-jumping 60m hurdles final on day four of the championships, Pozzi won his semi-final heat with ease. The co-captain for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the championships crossed the finish line in a season’s best time of 7.56s (0.157s reaction time) and was the only hurdler within the three heats to dip below the 7.50s mark.
The crowd were treated to a few added nerves in the final after a false start by Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus. Having won the third semi-final in a new national record of 7.51s, the strong medal contender was disqualified.
Just under two hours after easing his way into the finals, Pozzi continued his fine form as he was crowned the new indoor world champion in the event, equaling his semi-final time (0.143s reaction time) by throwing his body over the finish line in lane four.
However, this was not an easy run like his semi-final. The Brit had far tougher competition on his left and right side, with second placed US rival Jarret Eaton leading the majority of the race and the French bronze medalist Aurel Manga right up on their tails. World record holder Aries Merritt was edged out of a spot on the podium.
Andrew Pozzi managed to pull though after the fifth and final hurdle to narrowly claim victory in a dip-finish despite a shaky start where he hit the second hurdle. The race had fans off their seats at the end and saw the closest finish in a sprint event over the four days of blood, sweat and tears.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) March 4, 2018
Pozzi and Eaton stood side by side as the stadium was left anxiously waiting for a lengthy 20 seconds for the official results to appear on the stadium’s screen before jubilant celebration greeted confirmation of the home favourite’s victory.
The champion was delighted and relieved as he told BBC Sport,
“My heart stopped at the end there. I knew the fifth hurdle I was behind. I can’t describe how much I wanted it.”
Friends and fans over the nation flocked to social media to congratulate Pozzi on a long-awaited achievement.
Yes @andrew_pozzi. What a finish. World champion🎉🎉🎉 that was tense
— Dai Greene (@DaiGreene) March 4, 2018
POZZI YOU ABSOLUTE BEAUTY 💪 @andrew_pozzi
— Adam Gemili (@Adam_Gemili) March 4, 2018
— Katharine Merry (@KatharineMerry) March 4, 2018
Well done @andrew_pozzi, world indoor champ, thoroughly deserved!!
— Andy Turner (@andyturner110h) March 4, 2018
With Pozzi securing his victory, Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished with seven medals at the championships. Katarina Johnson-Thompson was the team’s only other athlete to win gold with a season’s best total of 4750 points in the pentathlon.
The final day of the four day event also saw Poland set a new world record in the men’s 4x400m and French world record holder Renaud Lavillenie win his third indoor world championship gold in the men’s pole vault.
With the new indoor world title under his belt, Pozzi goes into next month’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as a form favourite in the 110m hurdles in Australia where he will be battling it out at the newly built Carrara stadium.