Andrew Pozzi taken aback by atmosphere as he booked place in hurdles final in Birmingham

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England's Andrew Pozzi in action during Heat 1 of the Men's 110m Hurdles at Alexander Stadium on day five of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Tuesday August 2, 2022. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
England's Andrew Pozzi in action during Heat 1 of the Men's 110m Hurdles at Alexander Stadium on day five of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Tuesday August 2, 2022. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

By James Toney

ANDREW Pozzi grew up at Alexander Stadium but even he was taken aback by what it has become.

The hurdler from Stratford-upon-Avon has been competing at the stadium in Perry Barr since before he was a teenager.

But for these Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, it has been given a much-needed revamp, and 30,000 people were in attendance as Pozzi booked his place in the final of the 110m hurdles.

And he was overwhelmed by the atmosphere from a packed crowd.

He said: “Incredible is the word and I have no more. It's just phenomenal, I just can't thank everyone else enough out here. It's a difficult time in the world and in the country now but they bring so much joy to the athletes, so we are incredibly privileged to have them here. I know pretty much all my family are here, I believe several my friends are here, if not they are booked for the final. My family are from Stratford-upon-Avon, most of my family tend to live in London and my friends similar, so they have all made a bit of a journey.

“I grew up in the stadium, looking at it now is overwhelming, I did all my Midland Championships stuff when I was 12 and 13 so it is just a privilege. To all the people who have shown up here, it makes me incredibly proud, to welcome some of the world's best athletes to this is just incredible.”

Now 30, Pozzi, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support, has been a fixture in the senior set-up for a decade having competed at London 2012.

So, he knows all about what it takes to work through the rounds and challenge for medals as he finished third in his heat that was won by Olympic champion Hansle Parchment of Jamaica.

He added: “I felt good, really controlled, so it's just about taking that upper level now on Thursday.

“The field is great, so many worlds Olympic finalists in this field overall but that is what I like. It’s good going into a heat when you know you must run it hard because you have got great competitors. It is the best way of getting the best out of yourself.”

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