Truly the End of an Era.

Andrew Pozzi announces his retirement.
Andrew Pozzi World Indoor 60m hurdle Champion on 4th March 2018 in Birmingham after his victory.
Andrew in full flight.
There was never any question about what this week’s lead story would be, Andrew Pozzi’s, the club’s most successful member, decision to retire after a truly illustrious 15 year career competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Andrew has always been hugely loyal to this club and has always acknowledged the part played by it in his development as a world beating athlete. Indeed he even made reference to the club in his retirement announcement.

He has given up many an hour presenting awards at our  annual Awards night, something hugely appreciated by both young and not so young recipients. He has truly been the perfect role model for our junior members.

As a World Indoor Champion and 3 time Olympian who was also due to be named as a member of the Paris 2024 track and field team for the Olympic Games he has had a simply stunning and well deserved career.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing Andrew all the very best for the future and in also thanking him for all he has done for this club of ours.

Elsewhere we have  a date for the diary, with the announcement that the Club Championships will be held on Sunday 15th September.

There are the results from last week’s Vet’s T&F league fixture along with the season to date points tally.

Once again the Midland Area 5000m Race Walk Championships were held at the Stratford Track at the weekend and there is a report on those.

Andy Lawrence comfortably won the Evesham 10k and a handful of our members competed in the Northbrook 10k.

Due to the prominence given to the Andrew Pozzi story I have held over a couple of reports until next week and I thank Karen Holt and Seth Turner for agreeing to this.

I know several senior members took part in last weekend’s Buses and Barges initiative organised by Robin Langhorne and judging by the comments on Spond it was a successful event.

Good luck to our Midland League T&F team who will be making the lengthy journey to Newport on Sunday for their latest league fixture.

Don’t forget that next Wednesday 17th is the club’s AGM . 8pm at the Sports club or live on Zoom.

Take care.

David Jones.
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Paul Bearman (centre) when Andrew won the World Indoor Championships with L to R: Michael Lane, Carolyne Johnston, her daughter Eleanor and Sandie Evans. Michael and Sandie were coaches in Andrew’s early days in the club. 
Proud to wear the vest.
Andrew in 2008, the year he was selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games.
At the time Paul Bearman was quoted as saying “Andrew’s ambition is to compete on the world stage and with his talent and dedication there’s every reason to hope he will do in the future. Dare we hope he could be competing at the Olympics in London in 2012”

Well we all know what happened next.
Still proud to wear the vest.

At the 2022 UK Athletics Senior Indoor Championship in Birmingham and proudly wearing his Stratford vest. Andrew said afterwards “I’m always happy competing in Birmingham, especially as I’ve been competing here since I was a boy with Stratford. I’m happy to win another British Championship

Goodness me that was close. Andrew winning to become World Indoor Champion. He won by a margin of 100th of a second. The wait for the announcement to be made that he had won seemed to go on forever as the photo finish was scrutinised. When it was made everyone in the Arena seemed to be chanting Pozzi Pozzi Pozzi.


It rates in my top two sporting events that I’ve seen live (Birmingham City v Arsenal in the Carling Cup Final 2011 was the other if you are remotely interested).

On 4th July British Athletics announced the retirement of club member Andrew Pozzi.

Even in this announcement Andrew acknowledged the part this club had played in his illustrious career.




World Athletics Indoor gold medallist Andrew Pozzi has today confirmed he is retiring from Athletics following a 15-year career competing for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Stratford-upon-Avon athlete has today confirmed the decision after the diagnosis of a talus stress fracture earlier this week. Pozzi was due to be named as a member of the Paris 2024 track and field team for the Olympic Games but unfortunately has had to turn down the selection following the outcome of detailed scans and tests.

The highlight of Pozzi’s career will no doubt be that memorable moment on home soil when he won World Athletics Indoor Championship 60m hurdles gold in Birmingham back in 2018.

The West Midlands city proved to be a hotspot for Pozzi as he also won 110m hurdles bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which would be the last major medal of his long and illustrious career.

In 2017 he also won the European indoor 60m hurdles title in Belgrade and added the silver to his collection at the 2021 edition in Torun.

A club member of Stratford-upon-Avon since a junior, Pozzi first competed from GB & NI at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy in 2009, before winning silver at the 2011 European Junior Championships in the 110m hurdles.

A year later, he was called-up to the senior British team at a home Olympic Games in London.  He would compete at two more Olympic Games, finishing seventh at the 2020 Tokyo Games; his best result.

He said: “It has been an honour to compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the last 15 years and pursue so many of the dreams that inspired me so deeply while growing up. At every stage of my journey from the beginning at Stratford-upon-Avon Athletics Club until the present day in Cardiff with Colin Jackson I have had the immense fortune to have been supported by fantastic people and institutions, for which I’ll forever be grateful.

“Athletics in Great Britain is underpinned by so many incredible people that do so much for others whilst asking for so little in return. I hope that some of my performances gave those people as much joy as their support gave me and I want to wish all of my team mates heading to Paris the very best of luck.”


Top to bottom:

Wearing his Stratford vest in the UK champs
Winning at British Universities & College Students (BUCS) Championships


World Youth Championships

English Schools Championship

England International

U20 UK champs…..he had to vault over a faller to win
World Youth Championships

Andrew Pozzi

Report – Paul Bearman

Andrew joined the club as a 10 year old after a recommendation from Mr Jones his teacher at St Gregorys; “you need to see this boy and see what you can do with him (his talent)”….and so my 22 year journey and counting with Andrew began.

I became embedded in the wonderful Pozzi family and a finer more supportive family I’m yet to meet. As one of 6 children Andrew has been bought up by Annette and Nick with nothing but unflinching support and his siblings have been his fan club from day one. 

Andrew was a multi-talented sportsman as a youngster but after several injuries from other sports but when he turned up aged 14 cut and grazed after an accident falling off his skateboard at the Skatepark that I said “you either pack the other sports up and take this a bit more seriously and stop wasting both our time or we stop”. From that point on Andrew worked his socks off to try to become the athlete we thought he could be and indeed he became.

He also made me drastically raise my game as a coach and I became a hurdles “specialist” and so he has helped SUAAC produce and inspire numerous national and international hurdlers over the years. 

I’ve got dozens of stories, memories and highlights of my unbreakable relationship with Andrew from the time the broke the UK U20 indoor record (7.67s) at the Midland Champs in 2010 and that made the UK athletics hierarchy sit up (Stratford were not considered a hotbed of athletics excellence then), competing in the World Youth champs and getting his GB vest in 2009, breaking the BUCS indoor and outdoor records in 2012, obviously his first and unexpected 2012 Olympics selection after winning the UK champs, winning the World Indoor Championship ….. etc etc.

Odd memory : When Andrew won the UK indoor title for the first time in 2012 in Sheffield his Dad and I sat with Andrew for 4 hours into the early evening waiting for him to pass a sample that could be tested……without going into detail he had drunk too much water and at 8pm the testers decided it wasn’t going to happen and we left for the traditional trip to McDonalds for his chicken nuggets. This started Andrews long association with WADA and drug testing that become an integral part of his life for 14 years. No more early morning rings on the doorbell now!!

I’m exceedingly proud of all of Andrew’s achievements that are listed on the Power of 10, the fact that he has been the outstanding UK hurdler for over a decade, a 3 time Olympian etc. However, for me it’s not only the fact that he has always worn his Stratford vest with pride but also the man he has become and the courage and resilience he has shown to overcome the injuries and setbacks that started way back in 2010 that very few of us have been aware of.

When Andrew called me last week, the night before he was announcing his retirement, we chatted as we’ve done over the years about things and I was fully in agreement that it was the right time for him both mentally and physically to hang up his spikes…..a sad day but the start of the new phase of his life.

Onwards and upwards.

Below are extracts form the UKA Futures Report in 2010 that as an athlete and coach we had to complete. I think it illustrates even from the early days the setbacks he faced on numerous occasions and the mindset to overcome them time and again.

Athlete Assessment : This Quarter has been very successful but also very frustrating missing the vast majority of training available due to injury although I still managed to get very good results. 

I made huge improvements in performance; I think due to the strong winter base I gained from September to November and the short period in January. 

I’ve been very busy trying to balance training with school work especially in January with exams which put a lot of pressure on me but I managed to achieve good results in my exams as well as running well in the champs. 

I think my progress was also prohibited to a small extent as I was working two week nights and the weekend every week in order to make money to run and pay for a car and other living expenses, so sometimes training was affected.

My aims and goals for this quarter is to get back on the track and recover fully from my current injury and to also have a good rehab programme to reduce the risk of the injury re-occurring, also, by the end of June I hope to have competed in the World Junior trials and compete strongly enough to gain selection. 

As I’m in my final year of A levels I also aim to revise well in order to gain the results I need to go to University which will take me to the next level of my athletics as well as my academic career. 

Primarily the goal is to make the World Junior Championships and then a specific time will factor in after.

Injury Status : Fully Injured until April 21st then rehab will commence on a Stress Fractured Left Navicular (foot).

Training status: 11 weeks of training missed (77 days) from Nov 27th- Jan 10th then Feb 27th. Also a few single days where I had to work

Coach’s assessment: In the first part of 2010 we concentrated on fitness and getting some speed/endurance work done after resting his foot injury for 5 weeks prior to the New Year. We decided against doing the Indoors to give more preparation time to concentrate on the outdoor. However, training went well (despite having his injury) and so after consulting Malcolm Arnold we decided (despite limited technical work) to go for the Midland and EA champs. 

Subsequently Andrew surprised me (but not himself) with his performances. Absolutely fantastic and very proud of him! 

Since then Andrew is back into his boot after a further scan revealed he has had a stress fracture of the Navicular in his left foot since November, which wasn’t picked up originally.

 On the Doctors instructions Andrew is on “active rest” until the end of April when hopefully, if the Doctor gives the all clear, we go into a structured rehab programme. 

The objective is to get Andrew fit, rehabilitated properly and prepare for the outdoor season with the goal of qualifying and getting to the world champs in July.


The back page of this week’s Stratford Herald
Even at the time of his greatest success Andrew found time for a photo opportunity with junior club members Daisy and Archie Musk following his Indoor World Championship victory in Birmingham.

The Club Championships is the single most important competitive event in the Track & Field calendar for SUAAC because it is open to everyone in the whole club.

There is a huge amount of effort that goes into organising and running the Championships by our volunteers and our hope and expectation is that all our athletes will prioritise the event over other activities and enter and support the club.

Whilst the event is competitive, in some cases this is the first opportunity for an athlete, particularly the youngsters, to enjoy the thrill of competition and to pit themselves against their peers, however, it is more important to compete against the clock and the tape measure and to try to either set a personal best or improve an existing one and win points towards the age group championships.

This year we are again including a 5000m that will be a part of the Shakespeare series of races.

Midland Vets T&F League

Above are the results from last Wednesday’s T&F league fixture, together with the points tally for the season to.

It was a night that required team manager Hannah Osborne to dig deep into our club’s talent pool and to also twist a few arms of the hardy souls who turned up on the night.

The results show that our ladies team once again finished in 2nd place to the all conquering Worcester ladies who beat us by 13 points with our ladies finishing a huge 53 points ahead of 3rd place Halesowen.

For the season to date, Worcester ladies are in 1st place on 421 points, we are 2nd on 387 with 3rd place B&R some 179 points behind us in 3rd place on 209.

For the men, once again Worcester were triumphant scoring 140 points. In 2nd place were B&R with 104 points some 10 points ahead of us in 3rd place on 94..

For the season to date Worcester have a comfortable lead having accumulated 414 points, some 96 ahead of our tally of 322. In 3rd place and breathing down our neck are B&R a mere 17 points behind on 305.

The combined scores for the season to date show Worcester on 835 points, 126 ahead of us on 709 in 2nd place. Just under 200 points behind us in 3rd place are B&R on 514.
Jan McLure

Midland Area 5000m Race Walk Championships 


Report – Paul Hawkins

Following its success over the last two years, Stratford once again hosted the Midland Area Race Walk 5000m Championships last Sunday.

Although the numbers racing were relatively low it proved to be another good day with four races – men’s and women’s 5000m and juniors 2000m and 3000

Regular Stratford walkers Paul Hawkins and Gemma Smith had to miss the event but Jan McLure is in good form in her first season racing and came 5th in 34.34.4 in only her second race at the distance.

Many thanks to all the volunteers and officials from Stratford who put on the event: Brian Gravelsons, Daphne Hawkins, Nick Campbell, Paul Bearman, Tilly Campbell and Paul Hawkins.

Evesham 10k.

Andy Lawrence triumphed in last weekend’s Evesham 10k. His time of 32.24 was almost 1 minute ahead of the 2nd placed runner who finished in a time of 33.17. Other runners shown in the results as Stratford Athletic Club members are shown below.
Northbrook 10k

Last week saw the running of the local Northbrook 10k. Shown in the results as Stratford Athletic Club members are 7 of our members and these are shown below. The race was won by Ian Allen from Spa Striders in a time of 31.44. First female finisher was Zara Hadfield from Leamington C&AC in 39.16.