Pozzi's Italian job will pay off down the line
Andrew Pozzi admits it was a big decision to up sticks and move to Italy this winter – but one he is confident will pay dividends in the end.
The 26-year-old British hurdler has been one of the dominant forces on the world scene when it comes to indoor hurdling.
Pozzi won the European title in 2017 and the world crown earlier this year in Birmingham but outdoors he has flattered to deceive.
He failed to crack the podium this summer at either the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast or the Europeans in Berlin - finishing sixth in both finals.
And as a result the hurdler has moved to Formia to train with Santiago Antunez – the Cuban who has already led Anier Garcia and Dayron Robles to Olympic glory over 110m this century.
"I thought the chance to work with him had passed," Pozzi told Sky Sports.
"I'd known about him, but thought he'd officially retired five years ago! I've a good friend who's a really good athlete called Paolo Dal Molin and after seeing a photo of him with Antunez I messaged and asked 'are you working with him?' Paolo said yes, but also asked if I fancied working with the group and Antunez."
"I had three suitcases, a friend bartered for me with the estate agent and two days later I had the keys.
"I went to the local stores, got a bed but I really regret not bringing my microwave from home. Everything happened so quickly and I was determined to make sure I was at the first training session on Monday (October 29).
"I feel really settled though, I've got a really nice apartment, got a spare room so my family and friends can come over. It's just the little things like that that make me settle. I believe I've made the right choice with my training and my personal life is good."
And with Tokyo 2020 and the world championship in Doha in 2019 fast coming over the horizon – Pozzi knows he has to strike while the iron is hot.
"I genuinely believe I can win a medal at Tokyo," he added. "If it was just about reaching finals, I probably would have stayed in the UK.
"I know, somehow I know I can achieve this at the highest level and that makes moving to Italy easier.
"Indoors I've won every major title, but I've not made the mark on the 110m. At 26 I'm not past it, but my best chance is Doha 2019 Worlds and Tokyo 2020. Santiago Antunez has time and time again brought hurdlers to sub-13 seconds.
"I'm quick, but need his technical expertise and I have two years now to do that!" Sportsbeat 2018