Greene seeks to put down marker for Olympics by beating Jackson

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The Independent Online

The European 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene believes this weekend's Diamond League meeting at Birmingham will act as a "dress rehearsal" for the Olympics in London.

Greene, who also won Commonwealth gold for Wales in Delhi last year, will be among the favourites in tomorrow's race at the refurbished Birmingham Alexander Stadium, as well as being one of the main home hopes for an Olympic medal in a little over a year's time. He said: "This will be a mini dress rehearsal for next year and I am looking forward to it.

"The Olympics are very much on the horizon, if I have a bad season it will overlap into next season, so I have to keep focused. The countdown seems to change very quickly from 1,000 days to 500 to 400 – it's a very exciting time to be a British athlete."

The Welshman will come up against world champion Bershawn Jackson and believes that getting one over on his American rival – he has yet to beat this year – will lay down a big marker ahead of London and the World Championships in Daegu next month.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I have had some good races already this season. I won the last Diamond League race in Lausanne and beat a lot of my rivals. I would like to think I can put in a season's best performance at the weekend.

"The Worlds are my aim but I have ticked all the boxes so far this season: I have had wins over my rivals and I am running a lot faster than I was at this stage last year. Everything bodes well for Daegu.

"Bershawn Jackson is here and he is world class. He was world No 1 last year and he will be my big threat this weekend. Hopefully, I can run him close to the tape and get a victory over him."

While many British athletes will already be casting a glance forward to next year's Games, Greene insists his only thoughts are currently fixed on Daegu: "I need to finish this season well and focus on a successful Worlds. At the end of the season I can then review things with my coach and see if there is anything we need to change for the Olympics.

"I am focused on the Worlds, that's what you work for and I have visualised being on the top of the podium in Daegu," he added.

The B samples of three India athletes, caught last week for using banned substances, have tested positive, a top official of India's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) said yesterday.

"Sini Jose, Jauna Murmu and Tiana Mary will appear before an anti-doping panel after their B samples tested positive," NADA Director-General Rahul Bhatnagar said. "The date will be announced later."

Jose, Murmu and Mary, all 400m runners could face two-year bans. Murmu and Mary tested positive for epimenthandiol, while Jose tested positive for methandienone.

They are among eight Indian athletes caught doping this month in tests conducted by NADA and the International Association of Athletics Federations. Six of them are 400m runners.

Murmu also tested positive earlier during tests conducted by the world athletics body, along with another 400m runner ,Mandeep Kaur, who tested positive for stanozolol. The B samples of Murmu and Kaur in that case tested positive earlier this week.

The most high-profile name among the eight was Ashwini Akkunji who, along with Kaur and Jose, was part of the women's 4x400 relay squads that won gold at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games and Guangzhou Asian Games last year. Akkunji also won the 400m hurdles at Guangzhou.

Akkunji and three other athletes – Priyanka Panwar (women's 400m), Hari Krishnan (men's long jump) and Sonia Kumari (women's shot put) – tested positive for methandienone.