BANNISTER'S WORDS INSPIRE POZZI TO BRITAIN'S SECOND GOLD
The words of the late Sir Roger Bannister inspired hurdler Andrew Pozzi to clinch Britain’s second gold medal by the thickness of his vest on the final day of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
Just hours after it was announced that Bannister, the first man to run the mile under four minutes, had died at the age of 88, Pozzi won an incredibly tight 60m hurdles final by just 0.01 seconds ahead of American Jarret Eaton and France’s Aurel Manga.
The 25-year-old British team captain, who clocked 7.46 to Eaton’s 7.47, had to wait for officials to study the photo finish before he was announced as Britain’s second gold medallist after pentathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, standing hand-in-hand with his American rival at the finish line.
Afterwards Pozzi revealed that he had read a quote from Bannister before his final about how a gazelle wakes up in Africa every morning knowing it must move faster than the lion to survive.
Despite hitting the second hurdle, Pozzi found his speed at the right time to triumph in the arena where he first watched athletics live as a 10-year-old in 2003.
"Roger Bannister was an unbelievable athlete and unbelievable person. I'm very sorry that he has left us but I read one of his quotes today about a gazelle before heading down to the track,” said Pozzi, who is co-captain of the British team.
"My heart stopped at the end. I knew I was behind and I can't describe how much I wanted it. I was throwing my body at the line and I just about got there. It was a nervous wait at the end.”
The fourth and last day of action also saw the first world record of the championships when Poland’s 4x400m relay squad clocked 3:01.77 in the men’s final, beating the American quartet into second place and bettering USA’s previous world best of 3:02.13, set in Sopot, Poland, at the 2014 championships.
It was also a day of consistency for defending champions with Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha (men’s 3000m), France’s Renaud Lavillenie (men’s pole vault) and Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba (women’s 800m) all keeping hold of their titles.
Britain also won two bronze medals thanks to Pozzi’s co-captain Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, in the women’s 800m, and the 4X400m women’s relay squad. But Poland’s athletes were outstanding, picking up four medals.
In addition to the world record, Poland took silver in the women’s 4x400m and Marcin Lewandowski produced a strong finish to grab second in the men’s 1500m behind Ethiopian winner Samuel Tefera who clocked 3:58.19. Piotri Lisek also took bronze in the men’s pole vault.
The other gold medal of the day went to Ivana Spanovic in the women’s long jump.
Britain finished fourth in the medals’ table at the end of the championships with two golds, one silver and 4 bronzes behind the United States with six golds and a total of 18 medals. Ethiopia and Poland finsihed in second and third places.