Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s team captains Andrew Pozzi and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke spoke to the press on the eve of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
European indoor 60m hurdles champion Pozzi on his chances of winning a medal:
“I’m coming into these championships obviously wanting a medal and I am more than capable of doing that. Obviously, it will be a disappointment if I don’t do that. I am looking to win a medal. I have shown I have the quality to do that and I am in good form.”
On his fitness, especially regarding a foot injury which has hampered his preparations in the past:
“The foot is good; I have no real worries about it at all. It doesn’t come into my training decisions. I can compete as a complete athlete, rather than with an injury that constantly requires adjustment.”
On the hurdles field:
“Indoors there is no event that is better represented than the sprint hurdles. It is important for me to do the indoors. There’s stacks of talent.”
On competing at Arena Birmingham:
“I know the track really well. I have run 7.43 on this track which is typically good enough to win any World Indoors. I have pretty much always raced well in Birmingham.
“I have fond memories of Birmingham going back to when I was a kid. The first athletics event I ever watched was in Birmingham – that was the trials before the 2003 World Indoors here. So in 15 years, it has come full circle.”
On why the track is regarded as being one of the fastest:
“I don’t know much about track surfaces but there is a great atmosphere. There is nothing like Birmingham when it is filled to the brim. We put on great events in the UK; athletes from all over the world love coming here because of the support and knowledge of crowd.
“Birmingham is the best event in the world. It is the one people love coming to.”
European indoor 800m silver medallist Oskan-Clarke on the challenges of running 800m indoors:
“Once you are in a position, it is much harder to get out of it so it is best to get into a good position from the start and to maintain that position. Indoors, it is a lot harder to make up ground if you are in the wrong position.”
On competing on home soil:
“You have the crowd behind you. We have geared up to this for years. The track is amazing; it is probably one of the best in the world. People come to this track knowing they can give a good performance and compete well.”
On being voted as a co-captain by her teammates:
“I wasn’t expecting to be captain. It is an honour to think that my teammates think highly of me.”
European under-23 4x400m champion Lee Thompson on competing at his first global championships:
“It has been a bit surreal. I was making plans with my girlfriend for my (21st) birthday (on 5 March) and I told her that the World Indoor Champs are on that weekend but I don’t think I will make it. Certainly the hard work is paying off now and I’m really excited for the week ahead.
“I think I’ve got to race clever and run my own race, and we’ve got a strong squad in the relay. I hope we can get a medal for Britain. Hopefully we can step up and make the most of the home crowd atmosphere.”
On competing in front of a home crowd:
“It is special being on home soil. Hopefully I can get some adrenaline from the home crowd. I have heard it is a fast track. A lot of people have told me it is one of the fastest in the world.”
On his breakthrough race at the recent British Indoor Championships:
“I didn’t expect to run so fast. I expected to win the race. I think being in that arena around everyone gave me some extra motivation. I’ve never run like that before – out ahead from the gun, running so dominantly.”
On looking ahead to the outdoor season:
“My recent form has given me a lot of confidence so I’m using that for motivation for the summer. Last year, I only ran 47.0 so I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve been frustrated for so long so it’s a relief now.
“I hope to make the relay squad for Berlin (the European Championships in August) and try to mix it with the big boys over the individual event as well, just to keep building on my momentum.”
Nicola Sutton for the IAAF