Greene raises sights after beating 29-year-old record
Not since the days of the great Edwin Moses has there been a faster winner of the 400m hurdles in athletics' quadrennial team competition – formerly known as the World Cup and re-branded as the IAAF Continental Cup in Split over the weekend. In emerging victorious in a stunning 47.88 seconds on Saturday, Dai Greene recorded the quickest winning time since Moses prevailed in 47.37sec in Rome in 1981.
Having turned the clock back to the era of the American who won Olympic gold in 1976 and 1984, and who went unbeaten for 10 years and 122 races, the 24-year-old Welshman came within a tantalising 0.06sec of the 18-year-old British record. With the Commonwealth Games still to come for Greene before he hangs up his spikes for the year, the 47.82sec mark, set by Kriss Akabusi in Barcelona in 1992, appears to be living on borrowed time.
"I reckon there's another 0.10sec there," the former Swansea City youth team footballer said. "The national record is definitely within reach now. It's something that I have targeted but I wasn't thinking about it today. I've been fighting for a time like that all season and it came when I least expected it to. If anything, my training has been getting even better since Barcelona."
In the Catalan capital five weeks ago, Greene won the European Championship title in a career-best 48.12sec.
In Split on Saturday, running for the European team, he took a step up in class, closing the gap to the global elite of the one-lap hurdles. In second and third were the two men who filled the same positions behind American Kerron Clement at the World Championships in Berlin last summer. Javier Culson of Puerto Rico finished second in 48.08sec and American Bershawn Jackson was third in 48.62sec. Jackson, who heads the world rankings this year with 47.32sec, led until stumbling at the final hurdle.
"Bershawn had only lost to Kerron Clement this season," Greene said. "To be one of just two people to beat him gives me a lot of confidence."
There were confident performances from two third-placed Britons on Saturday, Mark Lewis-Francis (10.16sec) and Michael Bingham (44.84sec) clocking season-best times in the 100m and 400m, while 2.26m was also good enough for third place for Martyn Bernard in the high jump. Yesterday Andy Turner clocked 13.48sec as runner-up to David Oliver in the 110m hurdles, while Phillips Idowu was third in the triple jump with 17.24m.
n Usain Bolt has said he is plotting a career as a professional footballer once he has fulfilled his ambitions in athletics. "I have four more good years in me if I train hard," Bolt told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme. "When I finish I'd like to play football for two years."
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