The ‘excruciating’ wait to find out if he’d made his first Olympic final isn’t an experience Andrew Pozzi is keen to repeat but the hurdler has vowed to bring his A-game when it matters most. 

Pozzi finished fourth in the first of three 110m hurdles semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Wednesday morning and with the first two from each heat, as well as two fastest losers, advancing to the final, he was forced to watch the remaining races with trepidation. 

His time of 13.32s was still enough after the second semi-final and in the third heat, third-placed Shunsuke Izumiya crossed the line in 13.35s – sending the Brit through by just 0.03s.


The outcome was what he wanted but the process was an unpleasant one and the Stratford-upon-Avon hurdler knows he will need a much-improved performance in the final. 

“That wait was horrible, excruciating,” said Pozzi. “It’s the first time I’ve had to go through that wait, hopefully it will be the last, and I’m so happy to make the final.  

“I was trying to get as level with the finish line as possible to try to figure it (qualification) out. It was close, there were a lot of people fighting for that spot, so it was very nervy and I was just hanging around the end and just staring at the scoreboard. 

“I feel like I’m growing in this competition, I felt much more comfortable on that run, and I’m really confident that tomorrow will be better again. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to do more.  

“I’m happy to go again but let’s be clear, it will need to be better, and I feel confident that I’ll do that, so let’s move forward," said Pozzi who has been able to train full time and benefit from world class facilities, technology, coaching and support teams thanks to the National Lottery - which has never been more important in getting them to the start line after a turbulent year. 

Pozzi had come through an awkward heat on Tuesday in Tokyo, where his arms got locked with Wilhelm Belocian in the adjacent lane – the Frenchman eventually getting DQ’d. 

The semi-final run was then far from perfect but, as he prepares to put it all together in Thursday’s final, the 28-year-old is convinced the signs are there for an impressive performance. 

“It’s just trying to get some rounds in because the conditions are a little bit different,” added Pozzi, who pulled up during the heats at London 2012 and was then knocked out in the semi-finals at Rio 2016.  

“Unfortunately in the heats yesterday because of a bumpy start and a couple of clashes of arms it was actually a really difficult race for me, and I wasn’t able to find any rhythm. 

“Today really felt like a bit of a first time out, so I’m confident that I’m going to feel much better again tomorrow and I’m going to have an opportunity to really show my best. 

“You’ve got to be in it to win it, and right now I’ll happily take that. It’s on a straight, the same for everyone, it’s just important that I really focus on my job and have the best race possible.” 

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