With just one day to go before the biggest indoor athletics competition of the year kicks off, Andrew Pozzi and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke have been voted captains of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team. All of the 32 athletes on the team could nominate their choice, and they were crowed co-captains, after receiving exactly the same amount of votes.
Oskan-Clarke was thrilled at the selection and is greatly excited by the prospect of another home championships. “I am really looking forward to competing at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham. I was not expecting to be captain of the team and am overwhelmed and thrilled to be voted in by my peers and will do my utmost to support them and lead by example. It is great to have another home championships following on from the World Championships in London last year. This is my first World Indoor Championships, which I am looking forward to after my silver medal at Europeans last year.”
Their selection follows from successful performances at the SPAR Indoor British Championships earlier in February, with Pozzi claiming the win in an equal seasons best time of 7.58s, and Oskan-Clarke storming to victory with her best time of the year, 2:00.06.
Pozzi was honoured by the selection. “It is a great privilege to be voted as captain and it is nice that other people on the team feel that you can offer them something more than just your performance. I have been going to that exact stadium in Birmingham since I was 12, maybe younger, so my ties are really long-standing and I was really pleased to get the call. I have been on teams with some great captains and they have the qualities you respect. It is great to know that the team think of you in that way and that spurs you on more to make a particular effort and to try and justify that faith.”
The upcoming IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be hosted in Birmingham, will take place from 1-4th March 2018 and is expected to see more than 400 competitors from around 150 countries. Birmingham becomes the third city to have the IAAF World Indoor Championships twice (after Paris hosted it in 1985 and 1997, and Budapest in 1989 and 2004), last hosting the prestigious event in 2003.
Back then, the British team gave plenty for the home crowd to cheer, enjoying great medal success with two golds, three silvers and two bronze, leading the country to fourth in the overall table.
British Athletics will no doubt be seeking similar success this time around. Neil Black, Performance Director at British Athletics, shared his congratulations for the two athletes. “I am delighted for both Shelayna and Andrew that they have been voted as co-captains for the World Indoor Championships.
“It is a great testament to the hard work, effort and manner in which they carry themselves on and off the track and within the team that their peers have chosen them for such an honour. Both are fantastic role models and have had great success competing indoors, they know what it takes to win and we know they will strive to achieve the very best in Birmingham this week.”
Arena Birmingham, previously known as the National Indoor Arena, has hosted more than 30 sporting events, with the most world championships ever held in the same arena in Europe. It has been hosting indoor athletics for 25 years and has seen 15 world records broken.