Greene looking for rapid improvement after scraping into final

GB track and field team captain was disgusted with his 400m hurdles semi-final performance, he tells Simon Turnbull

It was not quite the scenario that Dai Greene had envisaged. The Welshman who won the world championship 400m hurdles title with a grandstand finish in Daegu last summer had expected to advance into tonight's Olympic final with a confident statement of intent.

Instead, after failing to find his customary overdrive in the home straight in his semi-final on Saturday, the British track and field team captain had to endure a nervous 20 minutes.Greene feared he had blown his 2012 Olympic chance by finishing fourth – only the first two qualify as of right – and when he clasped his hands to his face and dropped to the ground, he looked a picture of utter despair.

There were two qualifying slots available for the fastest losers but Greene was lying second in line with two semi-finals still to be contested. He watched the first of them from the trackside television interview gantry, a look of resignation on his face.

He could breathe his first sigh of relief when the time for the third-placed finisher – Leford Green of Jamaica – flashed up on the scoreboard. It was 0.04sec slower than the 48.19sec Greene recorded in the first race, when he had been unable to get past Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, pictured above, Jehue Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago and the American Kerron Clement in the final 100 metres.

There was still one semi to go but the third-placed finisher in that race, Brent Larue of Slovakia, crossed the line in 49.45sec. Greene had made the final, but only just.

It was of no immediate consolation to him. "Second fastest loser?" Greene said, spitting out the words with contempt. "That's no way to perform if you're world champion. I just feel like I've let everyone down, to be honest. I'm devastated. I should do better than that. I know I'm better than that. I'm running better than that in training. I just don't know what went wrong. I came off the bend too far down, with too much to do, off the pace a little bit. That's how it felt."

When it was suggested that the final presented "a chance to put it right," Greene replied: "Well see… I'll have to look back at this and work out what happened."

At the very least, Greene has a battle on his hands to restore his confidence before the gold, silver and bronze are on the line.

He has been unable to nail Javier Culson on the Diamond League circuit this summer but got close to him in Paris a month ago. The Puerto Rican has yet to lose in 2012 and will line up as the favourite this evening.

Greene may yet give him a run for the gold medal but on Saturday's evidence the world champion will struggle to get on the podium. Still, as Rhys Williams, his fellow Welshman, said after himself going out at the semi-final stage: "Who knows what Dai can do? Never write him off."

VIDEO
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?