Pozzi honoured at star-studded UKA Awards Dinner
SPRINT hurdler Andrew Pozzi was crowned Outstanding Athlete of the Year, in association with SPAR, on Saturday and admitted the award had left him dreaming of London 2012.
STAR IN THE MAKING: Andrew Pozzi was honoured at the awards
The Aviva UKA Athletics Awards ceremony saw the great and good of British athletics gather at the Park Plaza Westminster Hotel with Mo Farah and Dai Greene among those honoured, taking home the Athlete of the Year and Best Athletics Performance of the Year awards respectively.
Pozzi, 19, was also honoured as the stand-out performer from the Spar Sprint Stars initiative following his silver-medal winning performance in the 110m hurdles at the European Junior Championships back in July.
And while Pozzi - who won the under 20 English 110m hurdles titles in June and finished sixth at the senior championships - was delighted with the award he revealed he was chomping at the bit to get back to competitive action.
"I think any athlete in Britain would have to be blind and deaf not to be thinking about 2012," said Pozzi, who is one of ten Spar Sprint Stars for 2011.
"I'm beginning to look at personal goals, qualifying standards and selection criteria. If I focus on my own training, that's what will get me there.
"I'm very lucky my coach Malcolm Arnold is very experienced with athletes going to major championships. He'll make sure I'm peaking come selections and the Olympic Games.
"The season before last I was injured for the whole year, so to be at the point I'm at now, I'm very pleased."
Sprinter Danny Talbot was also nominated for the award after a fantastic season which saw him included in the British relay squad at the World Championships in Daegu.
The 20-year-old 200m specialist enjoyed a year to remember as he pulled on the senior GB vest for the first time to finish sixth at the European Team Championships before flying out to South Korea with the likes of Farah and Greene.
"Going to the World Championships was phenomenal," he said. "I came out of the lift with Usain Bolt, it was unbelievable to see a hero like that and be in such close proximity to him.
"The Olympics are dawning on me every session, I'm thinking about it and trying to push that little bit harder just to make sure I don't leave anything on the track when I'm training.
"I want to know within myself that I've done everything I can to get there, and if I do then that will be a relief and such a great achievement."
Meanwhile, 21-year-old fellow Spar Sprint Star Tremayne Gilling has learnt to put up with the frustration of injuries, which ruined his chance of competing at the European U23 Championships.
"I've learnt a lot from those injuries and I know how to improve for the season coming," he said. "I'm learning about how my body works.
"It gets you mentally, but you have to stay strong and bounce back."
All three athletes benefit from the Spar Sprints Stars scheme, which provides financial and training support for young talented athletes.
They were entertained at Saturday's awards ceremony, hosted by Katharine Merry and Iwan Thomas, by the magician Dynamo and a live band.
Brought to you by SPAR, Official Sponsors of UK Athletics, for more information visit www.spar.co.uk
(c) Sportsbeat 2011