Greene is keen to get Britain off to a flying start

It is fair to say that the most rapidly rising star of British athletics has yet to truly make a name for himself. Nobody was quite sure what to call the man who was selected in the British squad yesterday for the 400m hurdles in the inaugural European Team Championships at Leiria in Portugal. Was it David, Dave or Dai Greene? "David's my name, but Dai's kind of my nickname in Wales," he said.

Make a note, because the chances are we will be hearing a lot more about the 23-year-old Swansea Harrier. British 400m hurdlers made a habit of getting the team off to a flying start in the opening event of the European Cup, as the annual two-day competition was known until it was re-branded this year as the European Team Championships – and the form book suggests that Greene (right) will be following in the winning footsteps of Alan Pascoe, Kriss Akabusi and Chris Rawlinson in Leiria next Saturday.

Competing in Prague on Monday night, at the Josef Odlozil Memorial Meeting, the young Welshman improved his personal best time for the one lap hurdles from a decent 49.53sec to a world-class 48.62sec. In the process, he jumped from 18th to sixth on the British all-time performance list for the event, just behind Pascoe's best of 48.59. He has also shot to sixth place in the world rankings for 2009 – almost a full second clear of the next fastest European athlete, Periklis Iakovakis, of Greece, an Olympic finalist in Beijing last year and the reigning European champion.

Only three British athletes are placed more prominently in the global order of merit this year: Jessica Ennis (ranked No 1 in the heptathlon), Mara Yamauchi (No 2 in the marathon) and Phillips Idowu (No 5 in the triple jump). Of those only Idowu will be part of a team that also includes the Olympic 400m champion, Christine Ohuruogu – who will be dropping down in distance to contest the 200m – and the two British winners from the European Indoor Championships in Turin in March, Dwain Chambers and Mo Farah.

So there will be great expectations on Greene's shoulders when he lines up in his Great Britain vest. "It's great," he said, relishing the prospect. "A few weeks ago I couldn't have imagined being in this sort of position leading in to the European Team Championships. I've got high expectations of myself. I want to win. If I perform like I did this past week there's no reason why I can't take the victory."

Greene won the European Under-23 title in 2007 but his progress – like that of his Welsh compatriot and training partner, Rhys Williams, the 2006 European Championship bronze medallist – has been held back by injury. Now, though, the former Swansea City youth team footballer is starting to realise his potential under the direction of Malcolm Arnold, the coach who moulded Colin Jackson and John Akii-Bua into world record-breaking hurdlers.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot