In 2011, FPS began sponsoring a teenage hurdler named Andrew Pozzi, who was trying to combine university studies in Bristol with training in Bath. Pozzi originates from Stratford-upon-Avon which is also the location of the FPS administrative centre, and the association was formed through the involvement of the local athletics club. FPS agreed to help fund his traveling costs and employees started following Pozzi’s progress through a monthly blog that is shared on the company intranet.
Pozzi progressed well through 2011 followed by a strong start to 2012 which saw him finishing 4th in the 60m hurdles at the World Championship in Istanbul – only 0.05 seconds away from the bronze medal. As Pozzi’s profile and commitments increased, FPS increased its backing with the provision of a car to support his activities.
Success led to a change in focus with Pozzi and his team setting their sights firmly on the Olympics. Last year, aged just 19, the target was to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Following this year successes it became apparent that the talented youngster might have a chance of qualifying for the London Olympics, a dream for any UK athlete.
The first goal was to make the qualifying time which Pozzi achieved when he won the British Universities Championships in May. The next step was to qualify for team GB, which he did by winning the UK Athletic Championships in June at Alexander Park in Birmingham.
Commenting on his success at the UK Athletic Championships, Pozzi said, ‘I’m on top of the world. My preparation in the last week or so has been quite disturbed and I was unsure whether I could come here and achieve what I wanted. To get that done, get that all out the way and come here and win, I’m absolutely chuffed.’
His Olympic qualification has created quite a buzz within the business with a number of employees heading to the Alexander Stadium to show their support and cheer him on at the UK Championships, and many more watched his efforts live on BBC television. All this excitement has been mirrored by many employees getting involved in sporting events, including various triathlons, Sport Relief, the Race for Life as well as charity rugby and cricket matches.
The countdown to the Olympics is now on and Andrew is on track to compete in the 110m hurdles heats on 7th August, hopefully making the semi-finals on 8th August. It is early days in his career, but everyone at FPS is fully behind Andrew. You can follow Andrew’s preparation for the London 2012 Olympics on Twitter @andrew_pozzi