Gardener: Pozzi can shine at Games

Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardener believes how Andrew Pozzi handles going from dark horse to thoroughbred will make or break him, but he's sure the sprint hurdler has the pedigree to succeed.


Pozzi, 20, has ducked under the London 2012 qualifying A standard seven times this season and has carved his personal best down to 13.35seconds, making him the second-fastest Brit over 110m hurdles this year.

His star has been rising since last summer, he won European junior silver, and at the World Indoor Championships in March he finished fourth, missing the medals by a whisker.

Now towards the front of the domestic queue, even ahead of outdoor world bronze medallist Andy Turner, Pozzi will be expected to prove his worth at the forth coming Olympic trials.

And while Gardener, who ran the first leg of Great Britain's victorious 4x100m relay at Athens 2004, believes that paints a target on Pozzi's back, he believes he will dodge all the bullets that come his way.

"After what Andrew has done there is now more pressure on his shoulders and at a young age he is still learning to cope with it all," said Gardener.

"Having expectations on him will be something new that he must cope with and that can take time to get use to, going from underdog to having expectation on your shoulders.

"For those that don't achieve it will be how they bounce back from this that will be the real challenge.

"But I don't expect this to happen. Everyone wants to be in this position, seen as a serious athlete with a real hope.

"So while it will be challenging to make this change I expect Andrew to pass the test with flying colours and complete the remarkable rise."

Gardener was also quick to offer a word of warning ahead of the Olympic trials, but believes Pozzi could spring a surprise at London 2012, provided he makes sure of his place later this month.

"It has been great to see Andrew come through the ranks over the past year and from nowhere, he's now in the driving seat for London 2012," he added.

"This should not be underestimated and it is a fantastic achievement to be on this trajectory at this young age is brilliant.

"He seems to be timing his run to London 2012 to perfection but the real test is yet to come and he will know that, if he doesn't then he could be in trouble."

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