Tokyo 2020: Sports Performance graduates David King and Valdo Szucs reach 110m hurdles semi-finals on Olympic debuts

04 August 2021

Two University of Bath graduates lined up in the same 110m hurdles semi-final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Wednesday.

David King and Valdo Szucs, representing Team GB and Hungary respectively, both studied Sports Performance and were supported by TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) and a Santander Sports Scholarship respectively as they pursued their academic and sporting careers.

Both successfully negotiated their heats on Tuesday but while they were unable to progress through a rapid race won in 13.13 by World Champion Grant Holloway, Szucs – whose pre-Games goal was a semi-final spot – placed fourth in 13.40 and fellow Olympic debutant King was seventh in 13.67.

“It was messy from the start,” said King who, like Szucs, is now based in the United States. “I kind of stumbled out of the blocks and when you don’t set up your hurdles race right it’s hard to come back from it.

“My only goal, however, was to go out and enjoy it and I definitely did so it was nice to be around the guys running super-fast. It’s definitely nice to surround myself with these people, and it’s an Olympic Games – it’s a great experience.”

Andy Pozzi, who used to train with Malcolm Arnold at the Team Bath Sports Training Village, reached his first Olympics final after finishing fourth in his semi-final in 13.32.

That is taking place at 3.55am BST on Thursday, while at 1am BST Levern Spencer begins her fourth Olympic women’s high jump campaign for Saint Lucia – she trains at the University of Bath with coach Denis Doyle and Team GB’s Tom Gale, who reached the men’s final in Tokyo.

Commonwealth champion Spencer was sixth at Rio 2016 and said: “My first goal is to make the final. Once you are there anything can happen and if I do my best then hopefully I could be on the podium. If I don’t get on the podium, I definitely want to do better than I did at the last Olympics.”

The evening session in Tokyo sees Bath-based Emily Diamond and her Team GB team-mates begin their women’s 4x400m relay campaign in the heats (11.35am BST). Diamond won Olympic bronze in the event at Rio 2016 and is a multiple medalist on the world stage.

Click here to find out about scholarship support for student-athletes at the University of Bath.

Picture credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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