Green looks to emulate gold medallist Akii-Bua

 

If Jack Green can run as confidently as he talks then British athletics fans can prepare to celebrate an unexpected medal at next summer's London Olympics.

It could even be gold, according to Green, who is 20, largely unknown in sporting circles but whose development in the 400 metres hurdles, arguably athletics' most punishing discipline, has been impressive in 2011.

So much so that Green predicts at London 2012 he could emulate John Akii-Bua, the 400m hurdles gold medallist from Uganda who came out of nowhere to stun the sporting world at Munich in 1972.

Green said: "My coach, Malcolm Arnold, was a friend of John Akii-Bua. I never met him but I feel as if I have. His story is a fantastic one and it is an inspiration.

"Hopefully, I could be the next John Akii-Bua, the guy who came from nowhere to suddenly drop an amazing time, a world record, to win the Olympics.

"That is why I would not rule out me doing well (at London 2012) because people wouldn't have said John Akii-Bua would have done well coming from Uganda, running 47.8secs and winning the Olympics from lane one. Stranger things have happened.

"Last year I went from 50.49 to 48.98 and I'd say that was a pretty long way in athletics terms. It's exciting, but I don't care about times next year. I want places, medals, titles."

Green is a world junior 400m hurdles finalist who was persuaded by world champion Welshman Dai Greene to join him in Malcolm Arnold's stable at Bath.

Green had been set to go to Nebraska University in the USA at the end of 2010, but Arnold's environment has been perfect for his education.

The Kent athlete now trains alongside Greene, Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers, Scottish record-holder Eilidh Child, Commonwealth bronze medallist Lawrence Clarke and Commonwealth finalist Rick Yates under a coach in Arnold who has been to every Olympics since 1968.

The improvement has been tangible, Green making the semi-finals at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea,

There he met his idol, Maurice Greene, the 100m Olympic champion from Sydney, who provided Jack with his most potent Olympic memory.

"He is my inspiration," said Green, who was talking at an event to celebrate Aviva's 13-year association with athletics. "I was lucky enough to meet him in Daegu.

"I like to think my confidence is similar to his. The way he strutted about. I try to model myself a bit on that. I think I've always wanted to be a 100m runner."

Green is also a big fan of Ed Moses, who transformed the 400m hurdles event, winning gold in the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and triumphing in 122 consecutive races.

"You have to be a student of your sport, especially in the 400m hurdles where it is all about experience and knowledge," said Green.

"Moses completely changed the event. Being a physics graduate he changed all the stride patterns and was unbeaten for 10 years. Anyone who is unbeaten for 10 years at any level deserves some credit."

Green walks with a swagger and while his exuberance and honesty is precocious, it is endearing rather than irritating.

Has he dreamed of standing listening to the national anthem with the gold around his neck at London 2012?

"I definitely have," he admits. "It's not going to happen unless you believe in it and visualising yourself is part of that. I have visualised myself on that podium a few times."

If you think that sounds like a man with psychological training then you would be right. His mum, Nicola, is a school learning mentor with the aim of raising pupils' esteem.

Green said: "I think maybe she gave me a little too much confidence. I was obviously the experiment but it kind of went all Frankenstein on her."

At which point he demonstrates the 'monster' she has unleashed by revealing he had been flicking through Olympic stats to discover America's Angelo Taylor was the youngest 400m hurdles champion in 2000 at 21.

"Now I'm 20 and still will be at London 2012," Green said. "I think that is set up nicely, in my opinion."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent