Quiet man Greene enjoying his elevation to British golden boy
Saturday 03 September 2011
Welcome to the world of Dai Greene, the new golden boy of British athletics.
"World Champ!" the Welshman tweeted in the aftermath of his thrilling victory in the 400m hurdles final at the World Championships in Daegu on Thursday. "Get in there! It hasn't quite sunk in yet! So happy."
An hour later, from the bowels of Daegu Stadium, he was tweeting: "Now peeing into a cup in front of a stranger! So glamorous!"
Like producing when it matters on the track, obliging the drugs tester is all part of the job for the professional athlete – or "the model athlete," as Charles van Commenee, the head coach of the Great Britain team, has labelled Greene.
According to Malcolm Arnold, the hurdles guru who has guided Greene to world gold, the Swansea Harrier is a man of few words when it comes to work time on the training track at the University of Bath.
"I come into the office at 8am-8.30am every morning and I could only realise an hour later that Dai is halfway through his warm-up and hasn't said anything," Greene's coach said yesterday. "He's that quiet. He's very, very dedicated. You couldn't wish for a better athlete."
Still, the Quiet Man, the John Wayne of the one-lap hurdles, happens to be a dedicated tweeter – a man of few but invariably witty words. "Reading interviews my dad has given," he posted on Twitter yesterday. "Pretty sure he's meant to be fitting my new flooring today! Get to it :-)"
Greene might have been attempting to floor the opposition on the track in Daegu again yesterday, but decided not to run in the 4x400m relay final, in which the British team, anchored by Martyn Rooney, finished down in seventh place.
"Was in the relay team but withdrew myself during warm up," he tweeted. "Body was hurting, I didn't feel I could do the team justice. Tough call to make."
On the closing weekend of the World Championships, there is every chance of Mo Farah doing himself, and the British team, justice by winning gold in the 5,000m final tomorrow – and of Phillips Idowu, whose serial tweeting famously got him into trouble with Van Commenee earlier this summer, doing likewise in the triple jump.
"Winning is the plan," Idowu said after qualifying for tomorrow's final with a confident first-time effort of 17.15m yesterday. It looks a wholly realistic plan, the Belgrave Harrier's two most obvious threats, Christian Taylor of the United States and Sheryf El-Sheryf of Ukraine, having struggled to make the cut.
Idowu, of course, hopped, stepped and jumped to victory in the final two years ago and stands to become the first British athlete to win back to back World Championship crowns.
Jenny Meadows also made the rostrum in Berlin in 2009 but the Wigan athlete failed to make it beyond the semi-final stage in the 800m yesterday. She finished third in her race in 1 min 59.07sec, missing out on a place in tomorrow's final by 0.14sec.
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