British Athletics Championships.
Report – Paul Bearman.
In an extraordinary occasion for Stratford upon Avon AC, 5 Stratford athletes competed at the British athletics championships held in Manchester at the weekend, where selection for the Olympics next month was up for grabs.
After the championships it was confirmed that Andrew Pozzi had been selected for his 3rd successive Olympics. An awesome achievement.
The 110m hurdles was hotly anticipated with a line up in heat one that contained 3 Stratford athletes who have graduated through the club.
Andrew Pozzi flew in from Italy and had to isolate at home before travelling to Manchester and Jack Sumners, who had returned from university in the US a few weeks earlier had also been in isolation. Making up the threesome was Ollie Creswell, fresh from winning the bronze medal at the England Championships the week before.
This was Sumners and Cresswell’s first taste of competing at this level in the British Championships
Pozzi broke the stadium record winning his heat in 13.49s and Creswell finished just outside the qualifiers with a new PB of 14.48 and Sumners finished in 6th place.
The final contained the cream of British sprint hurdling and going into the final barriers Pozzi was ahead a but a clash of arms with David King at hurdles 7 & 8 knocked Pozzi off balance and after badly hitting the 8th hurdle and stumbling he recovered but it was enough to push him into 3rd place.
A philosophical Pozzi said afterwards “these things happen in hurdling and although I’m disappointed not to win I was proud to wear my club vest and have Ollie and Jack alongside me”.
After a couple of years being plagued by injury, Midland Champion Rory Dwyer competed in the Men’s High Jump and showed the consistency from recent competitions and finished 5th with a jump of 2.13m, going out by narrowly failing at his PB height of 2.17m.
In his first British Championships, 19-year-old Lewis Byng, who is coming back into throwing the Shot after a lay off showed what a talent he has after winning England U 23 Championship the week before. At these Championships he was up against seasoned older athletes and he finished a brilliant 4th with a distance of 16.61m, only missing the bronze medal on countback by 3 centimetres.
Afterwards proud I reflected that it was an amazing experience watching 5 of our home-grown athletes competing on the national stage and performing so well.
They are the inspiration for the next cohort coming through and showing what talent, combined with hard work, can achieve”.