Greene is peaking perfectly to go from pants-wetter to gold-getter

Hurdler confident of taking 400m title today to help ease disappointments so far for British favourites

It was on the playing fields of Pen-y-gaer primary school in Llanelli that Dai Greene lined up for his first race. "It was school sports day, year five against year six, the big sprint of the summer," he recalled. "It was a hot summer day. I was on the start line, getting really nervous, really anxious, and I wet myself.

"I'm standing there with shorts on and it's flowing down my leg. The guy next to me notices and I'm like, 'Nah, nah, it's just sweat.' I tried my best to pass it off but by the time I'd run it was everywhere."

For the record, it was not a winning run. "I think third or fourth," Greene said. Still, 15 years on, the former nerve-ridden, pants-wetting novice stands to end Great Britain's losing streak on day five of the World Championships in Daegu today.

As Greene concurs, he lines up as "the man to beat" in the 400 metres hurdles final. Last year the Swansea Harrier was a winner thrice-over on the international stage, prevailing at the European Championships in Barcelona, the Continental Cup in Split and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This summer he has sparkled on the Diamond League circuit, winning impressively in Lausanne and Birmingham, and in Tuesday's semi-finals there was the distinct glint of golden promise in his highly assured stride.

When the eight finalists line up, at 1.30pm UK time, don't expect an overflow of jitters from the man wearing number 441 in lane six. At 25, Greene has matured into a professional performer held up by Charles van Commenee as "a model athlete with a model attitude". According to Britain's hard-to-please Dutch coach, Greene is "a unique spirit – the sort of person who can actually deliver in the moment it's required".

If the "unique spirit" delivers a winning run in his Great Britain vest today, it will be a moment to cherish for both Charles and for Dai – a golden moment to ease the disappointments of the silver medals for Mo Farah and Jess Ennis.

Greene is not quite the clear favourite that Farah was before the unheralded Ibrahim Jeilan pounced in the home straight of the 10,000m (and prior to his appearance in the 5,000m heats in the early hours today), or that Ennis was before Tatyana Chernova suddenly fulfilled all of her hitherto stifled youthful heptathlon potential. He does, however, appear to have timed his seasonal peak to perfection under the guidance of Malcolm Arnold, the guru behind Colin Jackson's World Championship 110m hurdles successes of 1993 and 1999.

"I know I'll have the confidence in the final," Greene said. "I hope the semi-final sent a message to the other guys. Perhaps they'll realise I'm the man to beat. There are a lot of guys running close, so it's tough, but I've beaten them all at some point of the season. I'm confident of doing it again when it matters most."

The most likely threats to the Welshman are Javier Culson, the 2009 silver medallist from Puerto Rico, and Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 world champion from the United States, who goes by the name of "Batman". "I'm not sure if he gave himself the nickname," Greene said, "but he looks like a bat with his pointy ears."

As a more than useful left-winger, Greene played football for Swansea City's youth, scoring a penalty against Real Madrid. He is an epilepsy sufferer, with his goal now a gold medal in Daegu – with or without setting a British record.

"I don't really care about that," he said of Kriss Akabussi's patently vulnerable national mark 47.82sec. "I'd rather run 49.1 and win."

Pick of today's action

11.20am: Women's triple jump final Britain's Yamilé Aldama will be one to watch as she competes for her third country. The Cuban-born 39-year-old has also represented Sudan, but has lived in London for 10 years and is married to a Scot.

1.30pm: Men's 400m hurdles final With double Olympic champion Angelo Taylor looking out of form, Dai Greene's chances of gold are looking strong

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery assistants required across Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Nursery assistants re...

SEN 1:1 Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...

SEN Teachers and Support Staff

£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week